Durga Puja is the devotees' way of honouring goddess Durga, celebrating her victory over the demon Mahishasura. In the form of Maa Durga, this religious festival honours the divine feminine energy, as Goddess Durga is considered an epitome of courage and divinity in the Hindu culture. Anyone who wants to witness the Hindu culture and what it is all about in its essence mustn't miss this phenomenal mix of religious grandeur and ceremonial rituals.
Durga Puja is celebrated during Navratri and Dussehra. Although worshipped all across India, Durga Puja is observed with great fervour, particularly in West Bengal among the devotees. Yes, the whole feel of this Indian festival is quite larger than life here, and it is to witness exactly this that devotees flock here in thousands every year. It is celebrated during Ashvina, the seventh month as per the Hindu calendar, which usually falls in September or October.
The true origin of the Durga Puja is somewhat unclear. The only documentation one can find is in the manuscripts that survived from the 14th century. Historically, the Durga Puja celebrations and festivities have always been sponsored by the affluent class. Apart from Hindu scriptures, texts from other religions, like Jainism, also mention the celebrations of Durga Puja.
Talking specifically about Indian texts, they mention Durga Puja celebrations somewhat inconsistently. For instance, some versions of the Hindu Puranas talk about Durga Puja as a spring festival. On the other hand, the Devi-Bhagavata Purana and a few others describe it as an autumn festival. Durga Puja is among the famous festivals of West Bengal.
According to Hindu mythology, Mahishasura was a demon known for his deceptive traits and as someone who could shapeshift into many forms as per his desire at any given moment.
Ultimately, when his evil ways were getting too much to handle for the innocent, Goddess Durga intervened and killed him after a long and furious battle. And since ancient times, this legend has been kept alive and passed from generation to generation in the forms of written and visual stories.
Durga Pujo is one of the most important festivals celebrated all across the country, primarily in West Bengal. The destination comes alive with a festive vibe and infectious energy. Melodious sounds of conch shells, drum beats, and the fragrance of dhoop and agarbatti, create a perfect spiritual ambience. Here are the major attractions of Durga Puja, and know more about the rituals and celebrations associated with the festival.
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1. Durga Puja Procession
The sixth day of Navratri, the first day of Durga Puja celebrations, sees the beautiful idols of Maa Durga, which are brought either to their homes or into amazingly decorated pandals by the devotees for public gatherings. The idols are decorated with flowers, vermillion, clothing, and lavish jewellery. Lord Ganesha’s idol also accompanies the idol of Maa. After the Sthapana (placement) of the idols, sweets and fruits are offered to the deities. And as the days progress, one gets to witness the kirtans and many other ritual ceremonies which depict the freshness of our Sanatan Indian culture.
2. Pran Pratishta Ritual
Pan Pratishta Ritual is majorly observed to invoke the presence of Goddess in the idol on the seventh day, early in the morning. As per this ritual, a small banana plant, also known as Kola Bou, is bathed in the river and then dressed in a red sari. After this, it is carried back to the idol of the Goddess.
Also Read - Durga Puja Celebrations In India
3. Chokkhu Daan
One of the major attractions and rituals of Durga Puja, Chokkhu Daan, is the day when the eyes of the Goddess are painted. The crafting of the Goddess Durga's sculpture began weeks ago. On the day of Mahalaya, Goddess Durga is worshipped and welcomed on the earth.
4. Kola Bou Bath
In this ritual, Goddess Durga’s presence is invoked in the statue. This ritual takes place on the 7th day of the puja in the wee hours. A banana plant is given a bath, decorated with a saree, and then taken to the procession, accompanied by rituals and prayers.
5. Grand Procession
Celebrated on the sixth day of pujo, the Goddess is welcomed with lots of reverence and vigour. The beautifully decorated idols of Saraswati, Lakshmi, Kartikeya, Ganesh, and Goddess Durga are carried out in a grand procession to attractively-decorated houses and pandals.
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The 10th day of Durga Puja or Dashami is also referred to as Vijayadashami. Thousands of devotees participate in the procession when accompanying Goddess Durga’s idol to the ghat. The idol is then immersed in the water.
7. Pandal Hopping
Durga Puja is one of the major festivals celebrated in West Bengal. Main cities like Kolkata come alive with theme-based pandals coming up in a big way. Huge chandeliers, vibrantly-coloured decorations, stages, food stalls, game aids, and more look amazing. During the pujo time, people engage in pandal hopping and checking out different pandals decorated as per unique themes. Kolkata alone witnesses 45,000 Durga Pandals peppered across the length and breadth of the city.
8. Exchanging Gifts
This festival is also the best time to exchange gifts, meet and greet friends, family, and acquaintances. Mouth-watering food is prepared. Traditional and beautiful songs are played. Fairs and events are organised that witnesses large crowds.
Durga Puja is celebrated with great fervour all across India. However, this festival sees the most phenomenal celebrations in Kolkata, West Bengal. Kolkata witnesses many devotees every year on the occasion of Durga Pooja. The capital city of West Bengal, Kolkata, is well connected with different parts of the country. Have a look at the diverse modes of transportation available to arrive at the destination.
By Air. Since Kolkata is the capital of West Bengal and a metropolitan city, it is very well-connected to all modes of travel. The Netaji Subhash Chandra International Airport is just 14-17 km away from the city and is fairly well routed with other Indian cities. Once you deboard at the airport, you can easily take a cab to reach your respective destination.
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By Train. Kolkata has two major railway stations, which are Howrah and Sealdah. Both of them are well-connected with other Indian cities. Once you get off the station, you can easily take a cab or other transportation to reach your place.
By Road. You can plan your trip to Kolkata via well-maintained motorable roads and highways. The highways to Kolkata, NH2, and NH6, are also very well-connected, and thus it is easy for a person to reach through any preferred mode, whether it be a bus, cab, or your own vehicle, without any hassle.
This year, plan a trip to Kolkata and witness grand celebrations associated with the Durga Puja festival. Adotrip.com offer exciting flight deals, hassle-free bus and train ticket bookings, hotel reservations and exciting holiday packages. Reach out to us and plan a memorable trip to Kolkata. With us, nothing is far!
Ques 1. What is the significance of Durga Puja?
Ans 1. Durga Puja is a celebration of Goddess Durga’s victory over the shape-shifting demon, Mahishasura. This festival is also significant from the agricultural point of view as it coincides with harvest time.
Ques 2. What are the major highlights of Durga Puja in Kolkata?
Ans 2. Durga Pujo is one of the most important festivals celebrated all across the country, primarily in Kolkata, West Bengal. The destination comes alive with a festive vibe and infectious energy. Melodious sounds of conch shells, drum beats, and the fragrance of dhoop and agarbatti, create a perfect spiritual ambience.
Ques 3. Which Durga Pandal is the most famous one in Kolkata?
Ans 3. Sreebhoomi Pandal is the most famous pandal in Kolkata. Every year, it is decorated on a specific theme.
Ques 4. Why is Kolkata the most famous place to visit during Durga Puja?
Ans 4. Kolkata is the most famous place to visit during Durga Puja, as it witnesses 45,000 Durga Pandals during the festival. Moreover, every pandal is decorated differently and is unique from the others.
Ques 5. For how many days is Durga Puja celebrated?
Ans 5. Durga Puja is celebrated for 10 days. Every day is celebrated with different rituals and traditions.