Shubho Saptami to all of you!!!
Come, let us take you on a journey of Durga Puja. Here we collected some facts which make our Durga Puja more special.
1. The Soil to Make the Durga Idol is taken from a Prostitute’s Porch
Yes, it’s true. It takes a lot of effort to build a Durga idol and without going to a red light area and asking the ladies residing there for a handful of soil from their porch the Durga idol is incomplete. I came to know about this from the film, Devdas.
2. Tradition of Kumari Puja
‘Kumari Puja’ (worshipping young girls), is a tradition started by Swami Vivekananda in 1901 in Belur Math. Kumari Puja is an inherent part during Durga Puja and signifies the divine feminine power. Food and gifts are offered to young girls by those who observe fast.
3. Preparations of Kola Bou
‘Kola Bou’ or the tree bride, more popular as Lord Ganesha’s wife is prepared by adorning a banana plant. On ‘Saptami’, the seventh day, Kola Bou is bathed in the morning as part of rituals and placed on the right side of Maa Durga’s son, Ganesha.
4. We’ll Dance the Dhunuchi Style
The Dhunuchi dance is quite popular in Bengal and especially during Durga Puja. The Dhunuchi is an earthen pot filled with incense and coal. The steamed pots are held by the dancers and they dance to the tunes of the dhak lost in joy of welcoming the Goddess Durga to her home. It’s a beautiful sight to see the dhunuchi dance.
5. A Mini-Holi For the Married Women – Sindoor Khela
On the last day of Durga Puja,i.e. Vijaydashami, Ma Durga returns back to her husband’s home and before her departure sindoor (vermilion) is applied on her feet. After this, the married women apply sindoor on each other’s faces wishing each other a happy married life and bestowing good luck onto each other. This tradition is similar to Holi just that the vermillion replaces the colours or gulaal of Holi.
6. The Ulu Dhwani
Before a Puja is performed or rituals begin, a sound is made by the people around using their tongue which is called the Ulu Dhwani. This sound echoes as the crowds of people produce it together and the resonating sound is claimed to have the power to drive the evil away.
7. Worshipping of Mahishasura Mardini
Durga Puja commemorates Prince Rama’s offering to Maa Durga before going starting war with the demon king Ravana. Lord Rama first worshipped the ‘Mahishasura Mardini’ (the other name for the Goddess) or the assassin of the buffalo-demon, by offering 108 blue lotuses and lighting 108 lamps.
8. It was Basanti Puja
Originally, Durga Puja was celebrated in the springtime (Basanti Puja). The ritual during autumn (September-October) is different from the conventional one. So, this Puja is also known as ‘Akal-Bodhan’ or out-of-season (‘Akal’) worship (‘Bodhan’).
9. Different forms of celebrations in different states
The period of Durga Puja is celebrated as Garbha-Dandiya in the western part of India, as Ramlila in the north and as Golu or Bonalu down South while the Durga Puja is concentrated in the eastern part.
10. Dhaaker taale (to the rhythm of dhaak)
A part of everyday aarti, men with dhaaks create an ambience of celebration & sheer happiness . Adults & kids alike can be seen dancing with the perfect rhythm & enthusiasm which is almost infectious.The sound of dhaaks fills everyone with energy.
11. Bidding goodbye to Maa Durga on the last day of Puja, also known as bhashan.
Undoubtedly the most emotional moment for all Durga devotees, Bhashan or Durga Visarjan is when we bid adieu to maa durga & chant ‘ Asche Bochor Abar Hobe ‘ loudly, meaning ma durga will visit us next year as well. Many shed tears & many hope that this time of the year comes again soon, next year.
We again invite you to come and visit West Bengal next Durga Puja and don’t forget to give Belur Math a visit when you come to see kumari puja. And I will try to get some photographs clicked by me of our beloved Durga Maa and the beautiful pandals here in Howrah, West Bengal.
Cheers till our next post! I am going to wear my new jeans and t-shirt now and will again go pandal hopping! 😀