All you want to know about the Grand Durga Pooja Festival!!!



In Hinduism goddess Durga represents power which means Shakti in Hindi. She is the personification of power. It is held that Durga is formed by the collective energies of all the gods, including Shiva, Vishnu and brahma to defeat the demon Mahishashura who could not be defeated by any man. So Durga gains energies from all the gods and aims to kill the demon. The word Durga itself means completency. It has everything and everyone consisting in it, it is self-sufficient. It means the inaccessible. She is regarded as the mother of Ganesha, Kartikeya, Saraswati and Lakshmi along with whom she comes. In Bengal it’s said that Durga Maa comes to her maternal home with her kids when she is welcomed with all love and passion all over the world.



Durga is honored with extreme fervor during the annual navratri festival. The last four days of the navratri festival – Saptami, Ashtami, Navami, and Dashami are celebrated with much gaiety and grandeur especially in Bengal. On the 10th day i.e. Dashami is celebrated as Vijayadashami or Dusherra in Hindi. It implies the victory of Good over evil. In north – India Dusherra also commemorates Rama’s victory over demon Ravana as written in the Ramayana. Durga pooja is celebrated as the visit of durga maa with her kids to her ancestral house and the reunion with Shiva on Vijayadashami.



The history of durga pooja celebration starts from the late 1500s. The landlords or zamindars of Dinajpur and malda inaugurated the first durga pooja in Bengal. Whereas the sabajanin or community durga pooja started from 1910 when the Sanatan Dharmotsahini Sabha organized the first truly community puja in Baghbazar in Kolkata with full public contribution, public control and public participation.



The very eye-catching thing of the grand durga pooja is the pandals. Kolkata and west Bengal have skillful workers who create a new idea every year. The traditional icon worshipped during durga pooja is in line – Durga maa at the center with her ten hands and her most lethal weapon killing the demon Mahishashura. Besides are her four kids – Lakshmi and Ganesh on one side, and Saraswati and Kartika on the other. A Shiva’s photo is always on the top and behind. It implies that Lord Shiva has an eye on Maa and all the celebrations taking place at Durga Maa’s ancestral house. The typical pandal is of bamboo and cloth which is a house to provide shelter to the idols. But with time and technology many gestures have been added to the pandal making work.



The celebration not only consist of the traditional pooja and bhog, but many functions and performances are a part of the joyous celebration. Many communities all over make sure to have a blast every year with famous performers and foods. At many places the Kolkata’s “poochka” (panipuri) becomes their unique selling product. The kids, women, men all come together and contribute to performances during the evening. Top singers and actors from The Bengali Film industry paints their talent on the evening. Rabindranath’s songs also called as rabindra sangeet or rabindro songeet in the Bengali accent 🙂  is played and enjoyed in the traditional atmosphere. Many communities come up with causes, themes and social awareness since this huge grand festivals are a platform to promote social awareness in large.



Many idols are prepared from the soil clay from the pure banks of Ganga in Kolkata. The ornaments and clothes for the idols then differ from places to places. 3D flex backdrop, lighting effects, lights forming pictures at pandals, etc. become competitive factors for all communities. The artisans toil hard to come out with the larger than life perfect sculptures and feel. Artisans from different parts of Kolkata are invited to give a unique touch to the idols. These artisans are valued a lot for their craftsmanship and aesthetic knowledge. Artisans say they take one entire day to complete one sculpture. The artisans believe Kolkata is more traditional and keep that in mind the attire and ornaments are prepared which is unique for the people living there but in a pure traditional way. While in Delhi where also Durga pooja is celebrated and compared, the attires and sculptures experience a modern look. Now if you want to experience it you need to go to the Kumartuli which is 30 minutes’ drive from the main Kolkata city. If you go there on the occasion of Mahalaya (around a week before Durga Puja starts) you’ll be able to see the eyes being drawn onto the statues in an auspicious ritual called Chokkhu Daan. The Mahalaya is the period early in the morning before the puja’s week where the entire movie on goddess durga is being telecasted on a Bengali channel.



There’s never a better time to sample Kolkata’s famous Bengali cuisine than Durga Puja. The pandal hopping makes you tire and the food is a must. The food served to visitors at the pandals is called bhog (offerings to the god which are distributed). It commonly consists of Khichdi called as Khichudi in Bengali accent (The Bengali Khichdi is way different from the simple one and purely finger licking) mixed vegetable curry (chaira), a sweet dish (rasugulla or kheer (paaes)), fried item (mostly brinjal longely diced), and chutney (tomatoes’ sour and sweet).



The immersion ceremony too is unique. Bengalis don’t leave any event from uniqueness. The festivities commence with married women placing red sindoor (powder) on the idols of Goddess Durga. They then smear it on each other also known as Sidhoor utsav or sidhoor khela. In the evening the idols are immersed in water. The most famous immersion point is babu ghat near The Eden Gardens.

The grand Durga Pooja festival – the most important festival of West Bengal is celebrated with rich culture and love all over. So if you are planning to visit the Sweet City Kolkata, take a trip especially during the Durga Pooja and experience all beautiful colors of Life in four days J


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