Kolkata, the metropolis of joy, as it is known, has been observing the Durga Puja since ages. Durga Puja, the biggest festival of the Bengalis, is the worship of ‘Shakti ‘ or the Divine Power. As most of the spiritual jubilations around the universe, the Durga Puja besides has a fable of the battle between the good and the immorality. The dark forces finally succumbed to the Godhead.
I can still retrieve I used to love the Durga Puja as a little kid as it was an juncture to acquire a month long holiday in school. One of my oldest memories of the Durga Puja is that of the building of the immense pandals on the manner back from my school. My friends and I used to play fell and seek in those pandals until some angry uncle would steer us out mentioning some feeble grounds. Another memory is that of playing with friends from the vicinity throughout the twenty-four hours. In fact, the yearss of the pujas were the lone four yearss of the twelvemonth when I could remain out boulder clay flushing and yet cipher would call on the carpet me.
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Harmonizing to Hindu mythology, Durga Puja was ab initio performed in the month of ‘Basanta ‘ or spring clip. This was known as ‘Basanti Puja ‘ . Rama foremost did the worship of Devi Durga in the month of Ashwin, an unusual clip for this Puja and hence it is known as ‘Akalbodhan ‘ , intending ‘an uncustomary clip of beginning ‘ . It is said that hundred bluish Nelumbo nuciferas are required for this Puja to be a success. He could happen merely 99 and therefore offered one of his eyes as a replacement of the hundredth rose. His devotedness pleased Devi Durga who blessed him and he eventually won over Ravana, killing him in the procedure. The conflict was started on ‘Saptami ‘ , by and large accepted as the get downing twenty-four hours of the Durga Puja, and ended on the period between ‘Astami ‘ and ‘Navami ‘ , called the Sandikhan, or ‘the clip in between ‘ . Ravana ‘s organic structure was cremated on Dashami, celebrated throughout India as ‘Dussera ‘ , meaning the triumph of the good over the immorality.
Durga Puja dates back to the sixteenth century, during the Mughal epoch. Legend has it that the first Durga Puja was organised by king Kangshanarayan of Teherpur in the Nadia territory of West Bengal. King Jagatnarayan of Bhaduria shortly followed after.
Gradually Durga Puja became the great one-year festival that brought together household, friends, and neighbors, inculcating life into the everyday life of the small town communities. By the mid 18th century, this festival of the Bengalis had become the main juncture of the foul rich landlords, known as ‘babus ‘ in Bengali, to flash their wealth. They invited the Europeans during every eventide of the five-day long event to decorate the juncture with their presence and articulation in their banqueting. The presence and engagement of the British luminaries became a affair of pride and prestigiousness for their hosts. As per the Calcutta Chronicle there were other noteworthy locals who began to host the British at their Durga Puja.
Though there is much confusion about the origin of Durga Puja in Kolkata, some believe that the household of Saborno Chowdhury held the oldest Puja in the metropolis, dating back to 1610 near Sakher Bazar in Behala. Other old Pujas include that started by Govindaram Mitra of Kumartuli and the 1 at the castle at Sovabazar, known as ‘Sovabazar Rajbari ‘ , started by King Nabakrishna Deb of North Kolkata.
Where single enterprises declined, corporate endeavor came to the deliverance even in the early old ages. Around 1790, 12 Brahmin friends in Guptipara in the Hoogly territory of West Bengal, decided to get down a community Puja. Subscriptions were raised from the neighbors for the Pujas. This is said to be the start of the out-of-door Pujas in West Bengal, popularly known as Baro-yari puja ( intending twelve friends ) , which gained popularity in springs and bounds.
The ‘Sarvojanin Durgostav ‘ , literally intending everybody ‘s Puja, as we know it today started away much later in Kolkata in the 1920’s.The oldest ‘Sarvojanin Durgostav ‘ is that of ‘Bazbazar Sarvojanin ‘ , near the bank of the sanctum Ganges, at Bazbagar.
Though the jubilations around Durga Puja lasts over four yearss, chiefly from Saptami to Dashami, the temper of the Durga Puja sets in much earlier in the life of the people of Bengal. It starts with the graven image devising at the celebrated Kumartuli, a topographic point celebrated for its beautiful clay graven images of Gods and Goddesses and clayware. The full procedure of creative activity of the graven images or ‘murti ‘ , as it is normally known as ; from the aggregation of clay to the ornamentation is a holy procedure, supervised by rites and other rites. On the Hindu day of the month of Akshaya Tritiya when the Ratha Yatra is held, clay for the graven images is collected from the Bankss of a river, sooner the Ganges. After the needed rites, the clay is transported from which the graven images are fashioned. An of import event is ‘Chakkhu Daan ‘ , literally contribution of the eyes. Get downing with Devi Durga, the eyes of the graven images are painted on Mahalaya or the first twenty-four hours of the Pujas. Before painting on the eyes, the craftsmans fast for a twenty-four hours and eat merely vegetarian nutrient.
Kumartuli is a topographic point which is really near to my expansive parents ‘ abode. My gramps used to take me to this topographic point and showed me how graven images were made from bamboo, clay and hay.
The ‘Sharatkal ‘ or the fall season brings with it the of all time known strands of white clouds and light cool zephyr which reminds every Bengali of the closeness of the Durga Puja. The ‘Kashful ‘ , a flower traditionally associated with fall and the biggest festival of fall, the Durga Puja is another symbol that reminds every Bengali of the auspicious juncture. Then the clip comes for Mahalaya. My male parent used to wake us up at 4 in the forenoon to listen to the All India Radio where the evergreen voice of Birendra Kishore Bhadra and Pankaj Kumar Mullick still rings in my ears. Earlier it was conducted unrecorded but now a recorded version is broadcasted precisely on the same clip and still it creates the same consequence to the hearers.
When I was in my junior school, I was a member of the Rama Krishna Mission play and play squad. On the twenty-four hours of Mahalaya we used to ordain a drama on goddess Durga. I still retrieve the month long patterns before the event. After school I used to travel to Rama Krishna Mission for dry runs of the Acts of the Apostless. The sense of accomplishment after successful enacting of the drama was truly a memory to care for. And the ice pick dainty from my female parent made it all the more memorable.
The graven image of Goddess Durga has 10 custodies which hold 10 different arms used to contend the immorality, ‘Asura ‘ . It is believed that Goddess Durga got the 10 arms from 10 different Supreme beings who gave their arms to Goddess Durga to unite all their strength to contend the immorality, as ‘Asura ‘ was unbeatable by any other God. The conch shell in Durga`s manus symbolizes the ‘Pranava ‘ or the mysterious word ‘Om ‘ The bow and arrows represent energy. The bolt of lightning signifies soundness. The Nelumbo nucifera in Durga`s manus is non in to the full bloomed, it typifying certainty of success but non conclusiveness. The ‘Sudarshan-Chakra ‘ signifies that the full universe is subservient to the will of Durga. The blade that Durga holds in one of her custodies symbolizes cognition. Durga`s trident or ‘trishul ‘ is a symbol of three qualities – Satwa ( inaction ) , Rajas ( activity ) and Tamas ( non-activity ) . Devi Durga chose the ‘lion ‘ as her vehicle or ‘Vahana ‘ , which signifies the ‘taming of the wildernesses ‘ .
As a kid I used to be a small afraid of the immense king of beasts. My female parent used to ever state that Goddess Durga would direct her king of beasts to penalize me if I did some mischievousness. But bit by bit as I grew up, I started wishing the ‘Vahana ‘ of Goddess Durga. In my school, I was even selected as one of the Judgess for ‘best king of beasts competition ‘ conducted by my school.
Lighting, in and around the Puja ‘pandals ‘ , besides form an built-in portion of this luxuriant ornaments. Chandannagar is the finish where most of the large community pujas expression to acquire their lightings done from. Traditionally light bulbs of different colorss were used to adorn assorted ‘pandals ‘ but nowadays largely light breathing rectifying tubes of assorted colorss are used to salvage electricity every bit good as carry out the different intricate aggregations much easy utilizing microprocessor french friess.
As a kid I was a great fan of one of the Pujas held at College Square. It was celebrated for its lighting agreements. As it is one of the most popular pujas which attracts a immense crowd, my male parent used to take me to see this ‘puja pandal ‘ in early hours when the visible radiation would be still on and the crowd besides would be less.
Ritual drummers or ‘dhakis ‘ , as they are normally known as, besides add to the atmosphere of the Durga Puja. The ‘dhunuchi nach ‘ and the round of the membranophones is something which goes manus in manus. Many local competitions are held to happen out the best ‘dhunuchi ‘ terpsichorean and it is truly a affair of pride for the Bengali male to hold won such a competition.
Many Bengali movies and music albums are published to co-occur with the Puja. Many magazines, like the ‘Anandamela ‘ and ‘Shuktara ‘ , among others, come up with a particular Puja Special issue merely for this juncture. As a kid I was great fan of ‘Shuktara ‘ and bit by bit I shifted from the ‘Anandamela ‘ to ‘Desh ‘ .
In Kolkata entirely, more than two 1000 pandals are set up, all clamoring for the esteem and congratulations of the public. The metropolis is adorned with visible radiations. Traffic comes to a standstill, and so, most people abandon their vehicles to go by pes after a point. A particular undertaking force is deployed to command jurisprudence and order. Durga Puja in Kolkata is frequently referred to as the Rio Carnival of the Eastern Hemisphere.
In my college, I was more interested in ‘pandal-hopping ‘ than being a portion of my vicinity Puja. My friends and I used to travel ‘pandal-hopping ‘ throughout the twenty-four hours and sometimes even throughout the dark. At that clip the figure of pandals covered used to be a great affair of pride and all my friends tried to vie with each other to see the highest figure of pandals.
At the terminal of four yearss, the graven image is taken for submergence in a emanation amid loud chants of ‘Bolo Durga mai-ki jai ‘ ( glorification be to Mother Durga ) and ‘aashchhe bochhor abar hobe ‘ , intending ‘it will go on once more following twelvemonth ‘ and rub-a-dubs to the river or other H2O organic structure. This is a happy juncture for some who celebrate by offering Sweets to invitees and relations while a sad 1 for some like me to whom it means a delay of another long twelvemonth to live over and bask the celebrations of the Durga Puja.
Environmental jeopardies from the stuffs used to do and color the graven images pollute local H2O beginnings, as the graven images are brought straight into the river at the terminal of celebrations. Attempts are afoot to present eco-friendly stuffs to the craftsmans who make the graven images. West Bengal has been credited by its ain environmental bureau as being perchance the first Indian State to successfully control the usage of risky pigments. However, by their ain history, merely two-thirds of the graven images made are presently coloured with eco-friendly pigments.
During the Puja season emotions are high with ideas of homecoming, happy reunions with parents and girls married to distance topographic points, between brothers separated across the oceans ; the round of membranophones thud across the twilit skyline let go ofing a fresh encouragement of life amidst the vicinity numbed by its legion jobs. Everyone tries to bury at least for the four yearss the hard-pressing world and extreme practicality of mundane life as they take the welcome interruption from everyday life and lose their work-a-day individuality in the whirl of celebration. Thus Durga Puja so plays an built-in portion in every Bengalis life, which every Bengali nevertheless far from his fatherland, feels at the underside of his bosom.