Durga Pooja Navratra

September 21-29, 2017

Durga Puja or Navratra is one of the most important festivals in India. It refers to all the six days observed as Mahalaya, Shasthi, Maha Saptami, Maha Ashtami, Maha Navami and Vijayadashami.  More than just a festival Durga Puja is a celebration of life, culture, popular customs and traditions. It is a time of reunion and rejuvenation to love, to share and to care.

Durga Puja is an important Hindu Festival celebrated all over India with different rituals and festivities especially in the eastern region covering the states of West Bengal, Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa and Tripura. In West Bengal and Tripura, which has majority of Bengali Hindus it is the biggest festival of the year. Apart from eastern India, Durga Puja is also celebrated in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Punjab, Kashmir, Karnataka and Kerala. It is celebrated in the month of September/October every year.

The famous Durga Puja is celebrated in West Bengal, particularly in the city of Kolkata. It’s the biggest and most important occasion of the year there.

Durga Puja – the ceremonial worship of the mother goddess, is one of the most important festivals of India. Apart from being a religious festival for the Hindus, it is also an occasion for reunion and rejuvenation, and a celebration of traditional culture and customs. While the rituals entails ten days of fast, feast and worship, the last four days – Saptami, Ashtami, Navami and Dashami – are celebrated with much gaiety and grandeur in India and abroad, especially in Bengal, where the ten-armed goddess riding the lion is worshipped with great passion and devotion.

This festival involves the worship of Shakti i.e Goddess Durga. The legend Shakti lays back to the story of Mahisasur, a powerful daemon also known as the Buffalo Daemon. Through years of intense praying and worship he got boon from Lord Brahma that no power could him making him invincible. But once the divine powers were bestowed upon him, he started ravaging the whole world and killing people and eventually wanted to uproot the Gods too. The Gods, in dismay, combined their powers to create a beautiful maiden, and each placed his or her most potent weapon in one of her ten hands riding a lion. Durga killed Mahisasur and won the heaven back for the Gods.

Her return in each year in the Bengali month of Aswin (September-October) commemorates Rama’s invocation of the goddess Durga before he went into battle with Ravana. Durga Puja sees a variety of special food preparations over the six days of celebrations. There are special dishes, especially sweet dishes prepared on Durga Puja as food is a very important part of any festival or celebration anywhere in India.

 

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