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Durga Puja
Submitted by Abdullah on Mon, 15/10/2007 - 23:14

Durga PujaDurga Puja is the greatest festival of Bengalis. It is celebrated all over the world. It is the most popular festival in West Bengal. It is also known as Dussehra, Navaratri, Akalbodhan, Vijaya Dashami and Dashain in other parts of India.
 
Durga Puja is celebrated in the month of autumn ('Sharad'). The festival falls in the month of “Ashwin” – the sixth month according to Bengali calendar and is performed from the sixth to tenth day of the waxing moon making it a 6 day affair. According to Georgian calendar Durga Puja falls in the month of September/October.

During the time of Durga Puja, elaborate pandals’ are set up to perform the Puja in West Bengal and also in areas where large numbers of Bengalis live. Pandal is a temporary structure made of bamboo poles, cloth and tarpaulins. Its purpose is to serve as a temporary temple during the festival. In recent years pandals erected during the Durga Puja festivities have taken gigantic proportions and have become objects of art. While some of the pandals are simple structures, others are often elaborate works of art with themes that rely heavily on history, current affairs and sometimes pure imagination. One of the puja committees in West Bengal  made puja pandal in the form of Hogwarts Castle in Harry Potter.

Inside these elaborately done puja pandals a stage is erected which holds the statue of Goddess Durga in all its splendor and glory sitting or standing on her mount – a lion - holding ten weapons in her ten hands. This stage is the epicenter of all religious activities associated with the puja. Large number of people come to offer worship and flowers to the deity every morning from the sixth to the ninth day of the waxing moon. This period is known as Devi Pakhya (period of the goddess). Ritual drummers – dhaakis, carrying large leather-strung dhaakis –– show off their skills during ritual dance worships called aarti. On the tenth day, Goddess Durga returns to her husband, Shiva, ritualized through her visarjan (immersion) into the waters.

Today's Puja, however, goes far beyond religion. In fact, visiting the pandals in recent years, one can say that Durga puja is the largest outdoor art festival on earth and people from all communities come forward to celebrate and enjoy this festival.

As part of the Durga Puja celebrations, various Puja Committees organize a wide variety of cultural events. Some of the biggest names in Indian entertainment industry are invited to perform in these events.

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1 Comments

Guest wrote Durga Puja Content at 11:33:03 AM on October 21, 2007

Sumit Chakraborty's picture
Very well written and described.

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