Read the essay care fully. Durga Puja also referred to as Durgotsava, (Bengali: দুর্গোৎসব, ‘Festival of Durga’), is an annual Hindu festival in South Asia that celebrates worship of the Hindu goddess Durga.In Utter Pradess it is known as Dushehra. In Gujrat it is known as Ram Nawami. It is also know as victory of good over bad because on this day Rama killed the Ravana the symbol of bad.
It refers to all the six days observed as Mahalaya, Shashthi,Maha Saptami, Maha Ashtami, Maha Navami and Bijoya Dashami. The dates of Durga Puja celebrations are set according to the traditional Hindu calendar and the fortnight corresponding to the festival is called Devi Paksha.
Durga Puja Mantra:
Mantras, the integral part of Durga puja are accompanied by the rhythmic beatings of the dhak, smell of the incense sticks, 'dhoono' and flowers. These create the atmosphere of Durga puja. Chanting of mantras in Sanskrit is essential part of the Durga Puja Festival. This is a part of Durga Puja's Pushpanjali Mantra:
“Om Jayanti, Mangala, Kali, Bhadrakali, Kapalini. Durga, Shiba, Kshama, Dhatri, Swaha, Swadha Namahstu Te. Esha Sachandana Gandha Pushpa Bilwa Patranjali, Om Hrring Durgaoi Namah"
Geography of Celebration:
Durga Puja is widely celebrated in the Indian states of West Bengal, Bihar,Assam, Jharkhand, Orissa and Tripura. It is a five-day annual holiday. It is the biggest festival of the year in West Bengal and Tripura which has majority of Bengali Hindus . Not only is it the biggest Hindu festival celebrated throughout the State, but it is also the most significant socio-cultural event in Bengali society.
Apart from eastern India, Durga Puja is also celebrated in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Punjab, Kashmir, Karnataka and Kerala. Durga Puja is also celebrated as a major festival in Nepal and in Bangladesh where 10% population are Hindu. Nowadays, many diaspora Bengali cultural organizations arrange for Durgotsab in countries such as the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, France, The Netherlands, Singapore and Kuwait, among others.
In 2006, a grand Durga Puja ceremony was held in the Great Court of the British Museum.
The prominence of Durga Puja increased gradually during the British Raj in Bengal. After the Hindu reformists identified Durga with India, she became an icon for the Indian independence movement. In the first quarter of the 20th century, the tradition of Baroyari or Community Puja was popularised due to this. After independence, Durga Puja became one of the largest celebrated festivals in the whole world.
Durga Puja also includes the worship of Shiva. Shiva is Durga's consort, and worship of mother nature through nine types of plant (called "kala bou"). kala bou represents nine divine forms of Goddess Durga. It is also done in addition to Lakshmi, Saraswati with Ganesha and Kartikeya, who are considered to be Durga's children. Modern traditions have come to include the display of decorated pandals and artistically depicted idols (murti) of Durga. On the completion of Dashmi people exchange Bijoya greetings with each other on mobile.
Durga Puja usually lasts for five days. It begins with ‘Shashti’ and ends with “Dashami”. In our locality, we decorate the ‘pandal’ (tent) very nicely . The Honourable Minister of Transport comes for the inauguration of the Puja to our locality . Every year I go with my parents and my sister to visit the pandal and worship the image of the Goddess Durga.
We see the crowds thronging around the ‘pandal’ throughout the night. The police control the traffic in the area around the ‘pandals. The roads and buildings are wonderfully illuminated. The police check and control the level of noise to prevent sound pollution. We enjoy the sound of drum beats in every pandal.
On the ‘Ashtami’ we pray to Goddess Durga. On the last day of the Puja (Dashami), we see the immersion of the Durga idol to the beating of drums, bursting of crackers, and dancing on the road.
Every year the puja pandals show excellent craftsmanship and prizes are given to the best idols by various organisations. We wait for Durga Puja every year.
Poulami Das, who is a third standard student, in Calcutta, writes about Bengal’s biggest festival – Durga Puja.