Date: 1th October to 11th October, 2016
The festival of Durga Puja is infused with devotional zeal, detailed rituals, mythological legends, exorbitant pandals, and splendid tableaus of Goddess Maa Durga. In Hinduism, the Goddess Durga symbolizes the quintessence of Shakti, the heavenly feminine force, which presides over all cosmic formation, existence and change.
The divine Goddess is honored with full zeal and zest during the Navratri festival that marks the starting of autumn season usually in September or October. Navratri means “Nine Nights” in Sanskrit, and during these nine days, devotees with extreme fervor worship different forms of the Goddess Durga.The Legends
The Creation of Goddess Durga
As per Hindu folklores, Goddess Durga is embodied as a warrior, sit upon a lion. As per legends, Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu, and Lord Brahma decided to create a powerful force to devastate the impregnable Mahishasura, as they were not capable to quell him with their powers. The amalgamated powers of all the divine powers resulted in the creation of the divine Goddess Durga. She was blessed with all the powers bestowed to her by all Gods. The divine shakti was adorned with dazzling jewelry, ethnic clothes and garlands. The God of the Mountains, ‘Himalaya’ also gifted her lion and this Goddess came to be known as ‘Durga’.
The Death of Mahishasura
The prime aim of the Maa Durga was to kill the demon Mahishasura. After a long fight, Goddess killed the vicious the monster-demon Mahishasura and returned the heaven to the Gods that was seized by the demon. Since then, the Goddess is invoked for protection from the malevolent powers. The victory of divine shakti over Mahishasura represented the triumph of good over bad.
Fasting is an integral part of Durga Puja festival. The followers Of Durga Puja observe fast on the pious occasion with full sincerity and faith. The main aim of observing fast is to seek the blessings of divine shakti Durga. Intoxicating substances, non-vegetarian food and other forms of entertainment are wholly shunned during the fasting days.
The well-decked statue of Mother Durga is set up on Ashtami and food (Bhog) is offered everyday to Devi. The fast is only broken on the Astami or Navmi by giving food to girls as the young girls are regarded as the ‘Kanya Avatar’ of the divine Goddess. On the eighth and ninth day of Durga Puja celebration, devotees wear new attires, chant holy mantras and dance on the beats of drums to add elation and cheerfulness to this festivity.
The Maha Dashmi comes after the three consecrated days of Puja. A bawling farewell is offered to Ma Durga. In the evening, the decorated statues of Durga Ma are immersed in the pond and devotees come back with the blessings of the divine Goddess.Durga Puja Celebrations
Every year, devotees with full zest commemorate Durga Puja. Devotees visit the extravagant and highly decked Puja pandals. The followers of Ma Durga also make offerings to Goddess in the form of ‘Bhog’, ‘Aarti’ and ‘Puspanjali’. During the last five days, people visit their nearby pandals and worship Goddess with full faith and sincerity. In a diverse nation like India, this grand and auspicious festivity binds people of different faiths with a holy thread of devotion.