Friday, September 30, 2011

Durga Puja

Durga puja is regarded as the most important festival of West Bengal. The city of Kolkata dresses up in a new look for the five days of the festival. The celebration lasts for five days starting from Maha Shashti (the sixth day) and ends with Bijoya dashami (the tenth day). The first day of the celebration starts with Bodhon on Maha-Shashti, which is like welcoming Goddess Durga and ends with immersing the idols in the nearby rivers, lakes and seas on the evening of Dashami. However, it is considered to immerse the idols in the sacred waters of the River Ganges. According to mythology Goddess Durga descends to the Earth on Shashthi and returns to her abode on Dashmi. The clear blue sky, the cool pleasant air, the beautiful fragrance of Shiuli (a type of flower of this season), the lush green fields and chanting of mantras and shlokas of Goddess Shakti, all sum up together to create the perfect ambience for the celebration of Durga Puja, the greatest festival of the Bengalis. The preparations for the festival are done way in advance as beautiful pandals are build in different areas of the city these are mainly community pujas, which are mainly financed by the local people or sponsorship from big corporate houses. Even the idol making also starts way in advance. Clay idols of Bengal are famous worldwide for the traditional way in which they are made. The people of Bengal start preparing for the festival from Mahalaya (the starting of the festive season) they decorate homes, buy gifts for fiends and relatives and new clothes for themselves and relatives for the festival. The shopping plaza and markets are totally packed up from one month before the festival.

Durga puja festival is regarded as one of the biggest social event of India. Today it is celebrated not only as a religious festival but it has a cultural and social significance as everybody takes part in its celebration. People from all religious background participate in it. It is celebrated as a secular festival. Cultural programmes are organized in different parts of the city. During this festive time Kolkata attracts tourists not only from India but also from different regions of the world. There is feast and music everywhere in the city. Durga puja is that time of the year when everybody enjoys irrespective of their social status. During this time all the colleges, schools, offices and even government organizations are closed for the ceremony. Everybody is in a festive mood. 

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