Durga Puja celebration in West Bengal
Durga Puja is one of the biggest festivals in West Bengal. It is the only festivals where the Bengalis of all over the world come together for celebration. This festival is also known as Navaratri or Dussehra in other parts the country. It is traditionally an autumn festival and comes either in the month of September or in the month of October etc. Furthermore, this eve is celebrated as the worship of the mother goddess in Delhi and Mumbai where constantly nine days pooja happens and the entire community celebrates the fair and Dandia Ras (Garba) etc.
If you are planning to visit west Bengal during autumn vacations then, it is good idea. At this time you will fully able to enjoy this culture and festival. There are over 10 thousand pandals (decorated tents) housing the mother goddess and her family, are created to celebrate Durga Pooja. It begins with the pooja ceremony starts where purohit or pundit comes to chant the shlokas or mantras of goddess Shakti. This is done at specified times in the day after that, the Devi bhog is prepared in pure ghee by the daughter-in-law of the family and is offered to the gods. Traditionally, a goat was sacrificed as part of the ritual, but now a famous vegetable of the gourd family called chaal kumro is used for Bali etc. All the pooja’s are mainly performed by the men of the family.
And the second day is Saptami, when the same pattern follows, the Devi is offered one bhog, which includes a piece of fish, and Lord Narayan and Shiva are offered a vegetarian bhog. The third day called Ashtami is the big Devi Puja day. Besides the regular havan and aarti on this day there are two Devi bhog’s and one each for Lord Narayan and Shiva. As the day draws to a close, there is a 40 minute period between Navami and Ashtami and, when a special Shandhi Puja is performed with the support of 108 candles, sticks and incense sticks and involves a continuous chanting of mantras. At this time, life comes into the idol of goddess Durga.
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