Durga Puja 2019
Durga (Hindustani pronunciation: [ˈd̪ʊrɡaː]; Sanskrit: दुर्गा), meaning “the inaccessible” or “the invincible”, is the most popular incarnation of Devi (Durga Puja 2019) and one of the main forms of the Goddess Shakti in the Hindu pantheon.(Durga Puja 2019) Durga is the first showed type of Mother Adi-Parashakti.(Durga Puja 2019) Durga is Adi-Parashakti herself. The Devi Gita, declares her to be the greatest Goddess. Thus, she is considered the supreme goddess and primary deity in Shaktism, occupying a place similar to Lord Krishna in Vaishnavism. According to Skanda Purana, the goddess Parvati accounted the name “Durga” after she killed the demon Durgamaasura. Goddess Parvati is considered to be the complete incarnation of Adi Parashakti or Goddess Durga,(Durga Puja 2019) with all other goddesses being her incarnations or manifestations. Adi Parashakti or Mahadevi, the supreme power, is called Durga Shakti as per Devi-Mahatmya. Adi Parashakti or Devi Durga is a Hindu concept of the Ultimate Shakti or Mahashakti, the ultimate power inherent in all Creation. This is especially prevalent in the Shakta denomination within Hinduism, which worships the Goddess Devi in all her manifestations. She is Goddess Lakshmi and Goddess Saraswati in her mild form; Goddess Kali and Goddess Chandi in her wrathful form.(Durga Puja 2019) Durga is also called Padmanabha-Sahodari and Narayani, the sister of Lord Vishnu. According to Shaivism and Shaktism She is supreme, but to bring back lord Shiva in Sansar, she took birth as human form (Sati and Parvati) to marry Shiva.. Durga gave birth to his first child called Kalki.(Durga Puja 2019)
Origins and development
According to those well conversant with the veda and Vedanta, it was first used in 1876 and the supreme soul is identified with knowledge,pure and divine, and His Maya(delusion) is religion. The delusion of the supreme soul is otherwise called Shakti (power). From this power, generates all forms of knowledge of the world and it is accepted as vital cause of creation, existence and destruction. Mahamaya i.e. the power of Mahashakti (The Supreme Power) plays a vital role in creating the three qualitative shapes. Mahashakti, the Supreme power, is called Durga Shakti. (Durga Puja 2019)This abstract power has been imagined by the Hindus as Durga Shakti. By the help of the Supreme soul (Adi Purusha) and the Supreme Power (Adyashakti), three other shapes have been created from the Supreme Power. They are Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, and from the supreme power the shapes created are Maha Saraswati, Maha Laxmi and Mahakali. (Durga Puja 2019)Maha Saraswati is well known as Brahmani, Mahalaxmi as Vaishnavi and Mahakali as Maheswari. Durga Shakti is the original cause of all the present or past worldly occurrences. Durga Shakti is called as Adhyashakti, Paramatma Shakti or Ati Prakrutika Shakti. She is creating and controlling other two powers: Natural and General. Natural Power is called as Atma Shakti, Prakrutika Shakti, Pancha Mahabhuta Shakti etc. This Shakti creates and controls the General Energy. General Energies are called Jada Shakti or Tamashakti.(Durga Puja 2019) By the blessings of Durga Shakti, the mother of the Universe, man is able to get his emancipation or salvation and indulge in enjoyments in performance of his daily activities. So Vyasadev, the eminent poet of “Devi Bhagwat”, has aptly described “Rudrahinam Vishnuhinam na vadanti janastatha Shaktihinam Yathasarbe probodhanti Naradhamam”. The powerless persons are despised as mean persons. So, by being devoted to the Supreme, we should be strong and powerful by her grace.
The worship of Durga in the autumn (Shôrot) is the year’s largest Hindu festival of Bengal. Durga Puja is also celebrated in Nepal and Bhutan according to local traditions and variations. Puja means “worship,” and Durga’s Puja is celebrated from the sixth to tenth day of the waning moon in the month of Ashvin (Ashshin), which is the sixth month in the Bengali calendar. Occasionally however, due to shifts in the lunar cycle relative to the solar months, it may also be held in the following month, Kartika.(Durga Puja 2019)In the Gregorian calendar, these dates correspond to the months of September and October.
In the Krittibas Ramayana, Rama invokes the goddess Durga in his battle against Ravana. Although she was traditionally worshipped in the spring, due to contingencies of battle, Rama had to invoke her in the autumn akaal bodhan.(Durga Puja 2019)Today it is this Rama’s date for the puja that has gained ascendancy, although the spring puja, known as Basanti Puja [One of the oldest ‘sabeki’ Basanti Puja is held every year at spring in Barddhaman Pal Bari at Raniganga Bazar, M.K. Chatterjee Rd near Karjon Gate], is also present in the Hindu almanac. (Durga Puja 2019)Another famous portrait of Basanti Puja, can be found in Tangra Rakhal Chandra Das’ Bari, which is more than half and a century old. Since the season of the puja is autumn, it is also known as (“Sharodia”).
The pujas are held over a ten-day period, which is traditionally viewed as the coming of the married daughter, Durga, to her father, Himalaya’s home. It is the most important festival in Bengal, and Bengalis celebrate with new clothes and other gifts, which are worn on the evenings when the family goes out to see the ‘pandals’ (temporary structures set up to venerate the goddess). Although it is a Hindu festival, religion takes a back seat on these five days: Durga Puja in Bengal is a carnival, where people from all backgrounds, regardless of their religious beliefs, participate and enjoy themselves to the hilt.(Durga Puja 2019)
In Kolkata alone more than two thousand pandals are set up, all clamouring for the admiration and praise of the populace.The city is adorned with lights.(Durga Puja 2019) People from all over the country visit the city at this time, and every night is one mad carnival where thousands of people go ‘pandal-hopping’ with their friends and family. Traffic comes to a standstill, and indeed, most people abandon their vehicles to travel by foot after a point. A special task force is deployed to control law and order. Durga Puja in Kolkata is often referred to as the Rio Carnival of the Eastern Hemisphere.
Hundreds of puja pandals are set up every year in the Siliguri Mahakuma area. The city is adorned with many colourful pandal, glorious “Protima”, colourful lighting and sounds.(Durga Puja 2019) The puja in Saktigarh, DeshbandhuPara, Hakimpara, Rabindra Sangha, Rathkhola, Champashari, Central Colony (N.R.I), Silpanchal(Burdwan Road) and Saktigarh Utjal Sangha, sorojini sangha[shivmandir] are famous and the oldest durga puja in this area.
Silpanchal Durga Puja committee is recognised as one of the oldest puja is town which was established in 1955 and is famous for the “Protima” and many other social activities they undertake during Pujas.
The oldest puja in Siliguri is of Swastika Yubak Sangha. It’s one of the most crowd gathering puja of the region. The Puja Committee completed its 50th year of celebrations in 2007. Sorjini sangha completed its 150th year recently.
One of the oldest Durga pujas of Bengal. It has been said that this puja is started in 1510, by the founder of Cooch dynasty Raja Biswa Singha on the same year of his accession to the throne with the help of his younger brother Sishya Singha.
The gigantic sized Durga sculpture, popularly known as Borodebi (The Great Goddess), made with clay comprises only Maa Durga’s image with Mahishasura and Jaya-Bijaya, her consorts excluding her children’s sculptures; is vermilion red in colour. As a part of tradition, human-sacrifice is done there in the night of Ashtami on a secluded puja attended only by the members of the royal family; which still has been observing. Obviously, now it took a ritualistic form only offering blood-drops from one of the royal family member every-year.(Durga Puja 2019) Other than this, many buffaloes, goats, pigeons are sacrificed in front of the deity. Not only the royal family, all the people of Cooch-behar regarded her as the supreme deity, calling as “Boro-devi” (Supreme-mother).
Badkulla is famous in Nadia district for small-scale weaving industry and large pandals during Durga-Puja.During the four days of Durga-Puja Badkulla becomes alive. Every year thousands of people gather here from the nearby places to see the huge pandals, beautiful light works, amazing idols.(Durga Puja 2019) Once upon a time here Durgapuja was started after getting sound of Cannon from the Royal Palace of Krishnachandra of Krishnagar. Apart from the Durga-Puja, it also well known for its cultural devotion. Here all the clubs organize annual functions to encourage the common people to take participation in different social and cultural events.Laxmi Puja, Rathyatra and Rashyatra is also very famous of here.(Durga Puja 2019) Some volunteer web-developers of Badkulla has created a website ( www.badkulladurgapuja.net ) of Badkulla Durgapuja to share it with the world.
One of oldest Durga Puja is held at a village named Chanduli, 12 km from Katwa city, which is more than 350 years old. The Puja is held under the auspices of Mitra bari Debottor estate and here Goddess Durga has two hands visible in place of ten hands. Here, Devi Durga is glorious and famous in this locality. (Durga Puja 2019)Guptipara
In 1790 First Barwary puja held in this village of West Bengal in the district of Hooghly. Great Goswami family of Dhaka is now at Guptipara led by Satyendra Nath Goswami, Roypara.
Lataguri is a small village in Jalpaiguri district. It has an old tradition of Durga Puja with lots of joy and cultural values in the heart of the people. Prantik Sangha, Netaji Sangha, Friends Club, Pal Chowdhury Bari (Family Puja) are some of the oldest pujas to name a few. In the day of Shashthi, Maha Saptami, Maha Ashtami, Maha Nabami and Bijoya Dashami people here celebrate it in a grand way with lots of joy. Specially in Prantik Sangha (Post Office Para) they have an old tradition of celebrating “Raksha Raksha” (Prayers offered to Durga to save whole body and mind and to give happiness and prosperity) by exchanging warmth of happiness and respect among the people with touching elder person’s feet and hugging each other.
After that small sweet balls laddu are distributed among the people.(Durga Puja 2019) “Raksha Raksha” is celebrated in the day of Bijoya Dashami after sculptures (murtis) of Goddess Durga with her family are immersed in the most convenient body of water. (Durga Puja 2019)The members of Pal Chowdhury Bari march to the pond near about half a kilometre for immersion of the goddess by taking it on their shoulder. This tradition has been following for 61 years.
Hundreds of puja pandals are set up every year in the Berhampore, Cossimbazar, Khagra Jagdamba Mandir, Tapashwi Ashram (Bhattacharya Bari, started by Sri Rajkrishna Bhattacharya), kajal saha & ganesh bhakat], MULTIFRESH, Madhupur, Gorabazaar area. All pandal are decorated with lights and sounds. Swarnamoyee, Baganpara, Bishtupur, Madhupur Balark Sangha, Ranibagan, Kadai, Swargadham, Ajana Sangha, Cossimbazar Choto Rajbari are famous and the oldest durga puja from this area. Cossimbazars Puja is the oldest puja which is about 300 years old. All visitors are mostly from Berhampore city and coming through different part of Murshidabad. district and adjacent districts. (Durga Puja 2019)Specially the Astami and Nabami nights are filled with crowd from different part of the district. Visitors come out on the roads with their family and friends. They enjoy the festival through the night. Also the Bisorjon (immersion of sculpture) to Bhagarathi River is a beautiful scene. A huge number of visitors gather on the river side (Gorabajar Ghat, Khagra Ghat) to visit the last journey of Durga Pratima. Generally the pandals and sculptures of Madhupur area win the prizes and famous artists perform during these days.(Durga Puja 2019) Lighting from Chandan Nagar is done in this area to a great extent to increase the beauty of the Puja nights.
Being one of the oldest cities of Colonial Bengal, Jalpaiguri also observed the Durga puja with a great pomp in several places from more than a century. The oldest puja of the town is the Puja of Baikunthapur Rajbari which has started in the sixteenth century by the Raja Shishya Singha, the founder of Raikot kingdom. (Durga Puja 2019)Kadamtala Durga-bari, Ramkrishna Mission, Jogamaya Kalibari, Samaj Para Sarvajanin Durga puja, Natun para, Panda Para, Tarun Dal, Mohitnagar club, Kalyani Group of Industries’ pujas are some of the prominent and significant pujas of the town. Kumari puja in the morning of Ashtami at Ramkrishna Mission Ashram is one of the compulsory place to visit for the inhabitants of the town. More than hundred and seventy Durga pujas are celebrated through all over the town and adjacent suburbs. (Durga Puja 2019)Some families such as Bagchis, Bhuiyans, Neogys, Guhas are the eminent families who observed Durga Puja in their respective houses from the colonial period. Biswas family of Deshbandhu Para also perform the Puja at their house. They gather every items and ingredients, prescribed in the Kalika Purana for performing the Durga puja. (Durga Puja 2019)The auspicious chanting of Vedic mantras hymned through the house for all the four days, performed by Shreyan, a member of the family. All the members of the household lend a helping hand in accomplishing the puja successfully. This year the Biswas family also performed Durga Puja, led by Shreyan an accomplished Fashion Designer with full vigor.(Durga Puja 2019)