Durga Puja ; A festival of God returning Home | India
Durga Puja, the most happening festival in West Bengal and especially in Kolkata, can be sensed with its spurt of fanfare on all the five days of the Durga Puja festival. The city of Kolkata enlivens during the five days of Durga Puja, starting from the day of Bodhon on Maha-Shashti (6th day) and ending up with the immersion of clay idols in the river Ganges on the evening of Dashami (10th day). This autumnal festival popularly known as Sharodotsav, recalls the power of female Shakti symbolized by the Goddess Durga who slays Mahishasura (Demon) to re-establish peace and sanctity on earth again. Bengalis all over the world during these days of Durga Puja rejoice to their heart's content reconnecting with friends and relatives. The famous community Pujas of Kolkata began celebrating Durga Puja since the beginning or the middle of the 20th century and have since been applauded for their creative themes and exquisite skill. The five festive Puja days are spent welcoming Goddess Durga.
Sashti, the sixth lunar day when Goddess Durga is welcomed with much fanfare and gusto. 'Bodhon' is a ritual when Goddess Durga is unveiled.
Saptami features the first day of Durga Puja; commencement of rituals; predawn bathing of ' Kola Bou'.
Ashtami the most important day of Durga Puja celebrates Durga's victory over Mahishasur. Devotees recite the mantras and offer flowers to Devi Durga and pray for her blessings. Durga Chalisa are a set of 40 mantras in four quartets sung in the praise of Goddess Durga. Rituals of animal sacrifices are now substituted with pumpkin, cucumber or banana.
Nabami commences with ' Sandhi Puja ', an integral and important part of Durga Puja. It is performed at the juncture of the 8th and 9th lunar day. Sandhi puja lasts from the last 24 minutes of Ashtami till the first 24 minutes of Nabami. During this juncture (the "Sandhikhan"), Durga is worshipped in her Chamunda form. Devi Durga killed, Chando and Mundo, the two demons at "Sandhikhan" and thus acquired the name of "Chamunda". Goddess Durga is offered food which is later distributed among the devotees.
Dashami is the day when Goddess Durga accompanied by her children sets out for Kailash, her husband's abode. With a heavy heart the Bengalis immerse the clay idol of Durga in the sacred Ganges bidding her goodbye and earnestly waiting to see her again the next year. "Sindur Khela" is a major event of Dashami. Married women apply vermillion to each other and greet each other with sweets. It is in the evening when Goddess Durga is immersed.
Durga Puja is a festival is more of a socio-cultural celebration that tends to renew kinship with friends and relatives
Photo Documentary / Photo journal Story by Indian Photojournalist Jayati Saha (Hits: 95824)
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