Durga Puja refers to one of the major festivals of Bengalis all over the world. It embarks the beginning of Autumn when the sky is clear blue scattered with dollops of white fluffy clouds here and there. The weather is supposed to be at its best shining up with bright sunny mornings accompanied by pleasant breeze. The air is filled with the sweet smell of "shiuli" flowers and mother nature is bountiful with lush green and colourful flowers all bloomed up as if to gain her favour. The weather at its best comes in with an altogether different flavour when our hearts sprint to plunge into the five days of elaborate celebration amidst the grandeur of "dhak", "dhup", "dhuno" and fragrance of flowers all mixed with the same of the new cloth material used to create the various pandals all around the city.
History depicts that during the days of British Raj Durga Puja was commenced with an idea of The Goddess, symbolizing the Mother India slaying "Asura" or the foreign rule regaining her power. The deity's worship in real was performed to invigorate enthusiasm in peoples' hearts to fight out the British and uleash our Mother land's true glory. Later this Puja took the term "sarbojonin" or "baroari" thus denoting an universal angle to it. Today Durga Puja is celebrated all over the world and is considered as one of the most famous festivals which adds on to the entertaining factor on a much bigger scale.
The Devipaksh starts with Mahalaya being celebrated exactly a week before the main days of the puja.In the mean time Kumortuli or the area where the artisans live and create the deity's idol complete the finishing touches. From Sashti, starts the rituals of the puja when it is taken in belief that the priest creates life into the idol through his chantings. The mother Goddess is believed to be worshipped with her nine forms in the form of "Kala Bou" on saptami (2nd day) morning which gradually rolls on to the third and the most important day, Ashtami and Sandhikhkhon. Well, the next day or Nabami starts with the feeling that all this ardour and grandeur is about to end as the very next day is Dashami, the last day of celebration when the Goddess is taken for immersion to the ganges in elaborate processions. Though this day has its own mood and flavour with women playing with vermilion during Sindoor Khela and every one wishing Shubho Bijoya to another, yet the celebration comes to an end with this.
Nowadays from the past few years Durga Puja has brought forward a very different side invigorating the art forms and pandal decors in its fullest. A whole lot of organisations find out and plan to bring out various Indian folk art in its best forms as well as more innovative concepts to make enrich our art and crafts to a much greater extent. Young artist from art college get a chance to showcase their talent, to earn a better living as well as to win the hearts of thousands and hundreds who wait to flock the pandals throughout the day and night in new attires celebrating these days.The various prizes both in forms of trophies and money including the publicity and media hype has taken Durga Puja to new heights. Hence at times people say that the typical flavour of worship to some extent has lost its value amidst all this extravaganza. However in maximum "Bonedi Bari" which also remain special attraction of visit, the true flavour of the rituals is maintained with lot of effort and ardour. To name a few, Shobhabazar Rajbari, Mallick Bari, Da Bari and many others keep their tradition and cultute intact.
To end with all Bengalis in every nook and corner of the world wait eagerly for these four days as this is considered to be Bengali's Mahotsav or the biggest festival. These few days of Durga Puja actually re strengthens our bonds to our age old rich culture and traditions. It helps us to reconnect with our near and dear ones and inculcates the feeling of oneness which is otherwise stressed out due to our hectic schedules of daily life. We as Bengalis are proud to have a festivas like this, which binds us together not only from the religious ground but also as one , as with the universal feeling that we are Bindas Bengalis and no matter what the spark within us will always remain as bright as ever irrespective of the tolls of time.
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