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Friday, September 18, 2009

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As I must have mentioned in my earlier posts about Durga Puja being the major festival of Hindus/Bengalis worldwide and also the biggest festival of my city being Calcutta, it is celebrated to commemorate the triumph of goodness over evil in10 spiritual cum joyful days around the months of september to november( in accordance to the dates of the Hindu religious calendar). Their goddess Durga is worshiped in her 9 different forms on 9 individual days and on the 10th day, the idols are immersed in scared waters which marks the last day of the festival. It is said that the goddess is evoked on the 5th day, she descends to earth of the 6th day and leaves for her heavenly abode on the 10 day, thus the immersion.

The main days(the last four/five days) when people dressed to kill visit their relatives/friends homes and pandals to exchange good wishes, feast and worship their deity, one cant figure out whether its day even at night time! The city turns crowded yet one would never want to turn back time, because it is only then that the silence of this city gets drowned in the celebrations of music/dance and laughter, and it’s really fun.

The preparations by the city actually begin much earlier when the management communities of each area start collecting ‘chanda’ which is money as in contribution for the making and decorating of the streets and pandals of the city. The pandals and idols are made of wood, cloth, bamboo, mud, clay, decorations etc.. and it takes months of hard work and skilled artisans to finesse the structures and idols. Every nook and corner will greet you with striking lighting decorations and mesmerizing decorated goddesses placed gracefully in her temporary home during the days of this festival.

The people also begin their preparations weeks earlier on the first few days which has the city filled with people flocking to the market like cattle because i’ve been one along with them on the busy streets of Calcutta! The Muslim festival (Eid-ul-fitr) always clashes with the Bengali/Hindi festival (Durga puja) and so both the people of both religions cant help but set out for shopping together!

You may now wonder who and why the goddess Durga is worshiped in 9 forms? also the rituals are of great interest, so don’t forget to come back here in a day or two to know more or don’t forget to type in your email address in the subscription box you see on the right side bar, its spam free and believe me a more convenient way to receive and read my updates directly in your mail!


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