Durga Puja is observed and celebrated for 5 days which are known as Shashthi, Maha Saptami, Maha Ashtami, Maha Navami and Vijayadashami.
Durga Puja is a celebration of the Hindu Goddess Durga. Durga Puja or Sharadotsav (Sharadotsav means the “Utsav” or festival of the “Sharad Ritu” or autumn season) commemorates the victory of Maa Durga over Mahishasura, the demon king.
This festival symbolizes the victory of Good over Evil. It marks the annual visit of Maa Durga along with her children, Ganesh, Lakshmi, Saraswati and Kartik, to her parents’ home on earth and finally departing after 5 days to unite with Shiva.
Durga Puja is celebrated with much fanfare and pomp throughout West Bengal. In fact it is the biggest festival of Bengalis. It is also widely celebrated all over the eastern states of India and Delhi as well.
Durga Puja is observed and celebrated for 5 days which are known as Shashthi, Maha Saptami, Maha Ashtami, Maha Navami and Vijayadashami. On ‘Dashami’ (the tenth and the last day of Durga Puja), married women place red sindoor (vermilion powder) on Protimas (idols) of Maa Durga in a ritual of “Debi Baran” and later on smear it on each other.
During these 5 days, entire Kolkata transforms into some fairyland where every street, every nook and corner has a breathtakingly beautiful pandal. However the preparations for the Pandals begin months in advance.
Organizers and artists make huge efforts in creating breathtakingly beautiful Pandals that are no less than works of art. Each pandal works on a theme – it could be anything from the hottest current issue that has been making headlines, or a scientific concept or an elaborate representation of the traditional and ethnic culture of India or even an ecological issue.
Each theme is carefully planned out and the pandal is painstakingly constructed with specially acquired material. The Debi Protima (idol of Goddess Durga) is accordingly created to match with the theme of the particular pandal. Artists come up with out-of-the-box themes and ideas to decorate their Pandals.
Whether you are in Kolkata or in Delhi, the most popular activity during Durga Puja is pandal hopping. Go visiting the lit up, thematically decorated and meticulously constructed pandals with your friends or family. Enjoy Bengali street food (it is the perfect time to savor Bengali delicacies), participate in Aarti and take the blessings of Maa Durga!
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