Maa Durga Puja: Welcoming the goddess of victory

Durga Puja, a major festival of Hindus, is traditionally held for ten days in the month of Ashvina (September–October), the seventh month of the Hindu calendar, and is mainly celebrated in West Bengal, Assam, and other eastern Indian states. 

Durga Puja celebrates the victory of the goddess Durga over the demon king Mahishasura.

From the sixth day of Navaratri till the ninth day the huge pandals of the Goddess Durga are open for visitors. It begins on the same day as Navratri, a nine-night festival in many northern and western states that more broadly celebrates the divine feminine.

Lordess Durga is believed to be the daughter of Himachal and Maneka, it is believed that Durga was born after the self-immolation of Lord Shiva’s wife “Sati”.

According to the stories related to Durga Puja, Goddess Sati gave the incarnation of Durga. Because at that time the demon named Mahishasura started misusing his powers and this caused a furor over the earth. Lordess Durga fought with a demon named Mahishasura for ten days and killed him on the tenth day, Lord Rama had also worshiped Lordess Durga before killing Ravana.

Also read: Onam is the festival of joy for all Malayalees

Durga Puja is one of the most-awaited events in West Bengal

Preparations to welcome Goddess Durga, who is often referred to as Maa, or mother, begin about a month before the scheduled date. While the streets of Kolkata are lit up with elaborate lighting during the night, magnificent pandals and ornate idols are set up at various places across the state.

Flocking to Durga Puja pandals, dancing to the tunes, and feasting on bhog are part of the celebrations. The idol of Lordess Durga is placed on the first day, then various forms of mother are worshiped for nine days.

After the evening prayer, various types of competitions are held such as dandiya dance, bhajan dance, etc. which makes this festival even more interesting.

The entire pandal of the mother is decorated with various colors and flowers and it looks very beautiful to see. This festival is specially celebrated in the states of Bengal, Orissa, and Assam, where schools and colleges are also specially holidayed, which allows the student to participate in this festival with pomp.

In the northern states, the Durga Puja festival is also known as Navratri.

The last 3 days of the festival of Lordess Durga are considered very special in which bhajans, Katha, and special worship of lord Durga is done throughout the day. This festival is organized by worshiping different forms of Lordess Durga for nine days and immersing in the idol of Maa Durga on the tenth day.

Durga Puja’s first day is Mahalaya, which heralds the advent of the goddess. Celebrations and worship begin on Sasthi, the sixth day.

The tenth day of Navaratri is called Dashami and on this day the idols of the Goddess Durga are immersed in the water this process is called Visarjan.

After performing the aarti of Goddess Durga on Dashami, the idol is taken to immerse itself in the holy reservoirs, rivers, and ponds in which tableau is taken out all over the city and people dance and sing songs on the drums.

One of the most significant events marking the last day of the Durga Puja is Sindoor Khela where married Bengali women usually smear vermilion or sindoor on each other’s faces. This takes place after bidding adieu (Darpan Visarjan) to the goddess. On this day, called Dashami, devotees immerse the idols in a water body to only wait for her return the following year.

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