Celebrating Durga Pujo

 

Durga Puja also referred to as “Durgotsab”, is an annual Hindu festival that celebrates worship of Hindu Goddess Durga. Durga Puja is widely celebrated in the eastern part of India, specially in West Bengal, Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa and Tripura. Apart from Eastern part of India, Durga Puja is also celebrated in Delhi, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Punjab, Kashmir, Karnataka and Kerala. Durga Puja is also celebrated as a major festival in Nepal and Bangladesh.

During Durga Puja, God in the form of the Divine Mother is worshiped in Her various forms as Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati. Though the Goddess is one, She is represented and worshiped in three different aspects. On the first three nights of the festival, Durga is worshiped. Goddess Lakshmi is worshiped on the following 3 nights and Goddess Saraswati is celebrated on the last 3 nights. The following tenth day is called Vijayadasami. Vijaya means “victory” which is attained by worshiping Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati together. Goddess Durga represent destruction of evil and protection of good.

Goddess Durga arrives in all her finery astride a lion. She is accompanied with her 4 children, Laxmi (Goddess of wealth), Saraswati (Goddess of knowledge), Kartikeya (God of beauty and warfare) and Ganesha (Siddhidata / starter of everything in good sense).

Goddess Durga is the widely worshiped deity of Sakti and is worshiped in various forms corresponding to her two aspects: benevolence and fierceness. She is the personification of tender love, wealth, power, beauty and all virtues. She is also known as Parvati, Uma, Gauri, Ambika, Jagatmata, Bhairavi, Chandi and Kali in different avatars.

 

There are endless aspects of Durga described in the Puranas. She is usually depicted as having ten arms, 8 arms carrying a separate weapon in them (Sword, Conch, Discus, Rosary, Bell, Winecup, Shielf, Bow, Arrow, and Spear) and the rest two holds the spear which has been struck into the chest of the demon, Mahishasura.

The dates of Durga Puja celebrations are set according to traditional Hindu calendar and the fortnight corresponding the festival is called Debi Pokkho. Durga Puja spans over a period of 10 days starting from Mahalaya till Bijoya Dashami.

Mahalaya ushers in the aura of Durga Puja and heralds the advent of Devi Durga, the goddess of supreme power.The midnight chants of various hymns of ‘Mahishasura Mardini’ reminds one of the beginning of Durga Puja. The main Puja, starts on the evening of ‘Sasthi’ (the sixth day after the new moon), generally from beneath a ‘Bel’ tree for the traditional ones. In the early morning of ‘Saptami,’ (the next day / seventh day), the ‘Pran’ or life of the Devi is brought from a nearby pond or river in a banana tree and established inside the image. The main puja starts thereafter and the prime time is reached in the ‘Sandhikshan,’ the crossover time between Ashtami (the eighth day) and Navami (the ninth day). Finally, on ‘Dashami’ (the tenth day from the new moon), the idol is immersed in a pond / river.

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3 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    Beautiful pictures Malini. Thank you for the write up too. Best wishes on the festival.

  2. Indrani

    Thanks for the lovely pictures. I loved the way you have described all the aspects of Durga Pujo.

  3. Indrani

    Thanks for the lovely pictures. I loved the way you have described all the aspects of Durga Pujo. Happy Dussehra

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