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Durga Puja Celebrations!! Joy Ma Durga!

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Debipriya

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Durga puja ('Worship of Durga'), also referred to as 'Durgotsava' ('Festival of Durga'), is an annual Hindu festival in South Asia that celebrates worship of the Hindu goddess Durga. It refers to all the six days observed as MahalayaShashthiMaha SaptamiMaha AshtamiMaha Navami[I] and [I]Bijoya Dashami[I]. The dates of Durga Puja celebrations are set according to the traditional Hindu calendar and the fortnight corresponding to the festival is called [I]'Devi Paksha' ('Fortnight of the Goddess'). Devi Paksha is preceded by 'Mahalaya' , the last day of the previous fortnight 'Pitri Pokkho' ('Fortnight of the Forefathers'), and is ended on 'Kojaagori Lokkhi Puja' ('Worship of Goddess Lakshmi on Kojaagori Full Moon Night').
 
 
 
Durga Puja is widely celebrated in the Indian states of West Bengal, Bihar,AssamJharkhandOrissa and Tripura where it is a five-day annual holiday. In West Bengal and Tripura which has majority of Bengali Hindus it is the biggest festival of the year. Not only is it the biggest Hindu festival celebrated throughout the State, but it is also the most significant socio-cultural event in Bengali society. Apart from eastern India, Durga Puja is also celebrated in DelhiUttar PradeshBiharMaharashtraGujaratPunjabKashmirKarnataka and Kerala. Durga Puja is also celebrated as a major festival in Nepal and in Bangladesh where 10% population are Hindu. Nowadays, many diaspora Bengali cultural organizations arrange for Durgotsab in countries such as the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, France, The Netherlands, Singapore and Kuwait, among others. In 2006, a grand Durga Puja ceremony was held in the Great Court of the British Museum.
 
 
The prominence of Durga Puja increased gradually during the British Raj in Bengal After the Hindu reformists identified Durga with India, she became an icon for the Indian independence movement. In the first quarter of the 20th century, the tradition of 'Baaroyaari' or 'Community Puja' was popularized due to this. After independence, Durga Puja became one of the largest celebrated festivals in the whole world.
 
 
Durga Puja also includes the worship of Shiva, who is Durga's consort, and worship of mother nature through nine types of plant ( called 'kala bou') representing nine divine forms of Goddess Durga  is also done in addition to LakshmiSaraswati with Ganesha and Kartikeya, who are considered to be Durga's children. Modern traditions have come to include the display of decorated pandals and artistically depicted idols (murti) of Durga, exchange of Bijoya greetings and publication of Puja Annuals (Literature).
 
 
* In the 'Krittibas Ramayana'Rama invokes the goddess Durga in his battle against Ravana. Although she was traditionally worshipped in the spring, due to contingencies of battle, Rama had to invoke her in the autumn ('akaal bodhan'). Today it is this Rama's date for the puja that has gained ascendancy, although the spring puja, known as 'Baasanti Puja', is also present in the Hindu almanac. Since the season of the puja is autumn, it is also known as ('Sharodia').
 
 
The pujas are held over a ten-day period, which is traditionally viewed as the coming of the married daughter, Durga, to her father, Himalaya's home. It is the most important festival in Bengal, and Bengalis celebrate with new clothes and other gifts, which are worn on the evenings when the family goes out to see the 'pandals' (temporary structures set up to venerate the goddess). Although it is a Hindu festival, religion takes a back seat on these five days: Durga Puja in Bengal is a carnival, where people from all backgrounds, regardless of their religious beliefs, participate and enjoy themselves to the hilt.
 
 
 
The worship of Durga in the autumn ( 'Shorot') is the year's largest Hindu festival of Bengal. Puja means "worship," and Durga's Puja is celebrated from the sixth to tenth day of the waning moon in the month of Ashvin ('Ashshin'), which is the sixth month in the Bengali calendar. Occasionally however, due to shifts in the lunar cycle relative to the solar months, it may also be held in the following month, 'Kartika'. In the Gregorian calendar, these dates correspond to the months of September and October.
 
 
In Kolkata alone more than two thousand pandals are set up, all clamoring for the admiration and praise of the populace. The city is adorned with lights. People from all over the country visit the city at this time, and every night is one mad carnival where thousands of people go 'pandal-hopping' with their friends and family. Traffic comes to a standstill, and indeed, most people abandon their vehicles to travel by foot after a point. A special task force is deployed to control law and order. Durga Puja in Kolkata is often referred to as the Rio Carnival of the Eastern Hemisphere.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Names:
 
In Bengal, Durga Puja is also called 'Akalbodhan['/U] ('untimely awakening of Durga'), [I]'Sharodiya Pujo' ( 'autumnal worship'), 'Sharodotsab' ('festival of autumn'), 'Maha Pujo' ('grand puja'), 'Maayer Pujo' ('worship of the Mother) or merely as 'Puja' or /Pujo'. In East Bengal (Bangladesh), Durga Puja used to be celebrated as 'Bhagabati Puja'. It is also called 'Durga Puja' in Bihar, AssamOrissaDelhi and Madhya Pradesh.
 
Puja is called 'Navaratri Puja' in GujaratUttar Pradesh, Punjab, Kerala and Maharashtra, 'Kullu Dussehra' in Kullu ValleyHimachal Pradesh, 'Mysore Dussehra' in Mysore, Karnataka and 'Bommai Golu' in Tamil Nadu and 'Bommala koluvu' in Andhra Pradesh.
 
 
 
 
Origin of the name 'Sharodiya':
 
The actual worship of the Goddess Durga as stipulated by the Hindu scriptures falls in the month of 'Chaitra', which roughly overlaps with March or April. This ceremony is however not observed by many and is restricted to a handful in the state of West Bengal.
 
The more popular form, which is also known as 'Sharodiya' (Autumnal) Durga Puja, is celebrated later in the year with the dates falling either in September or October. Since the Goddess is invoked at the wrong time, it is called 'Akaal Bodhon' in Bengali.
 
While the most recent revival of the Autumnal worship of Goddess Durga can be traced to revivalist tendencies in the early freedom movement in Bengal, the first such Puja was organised by Raja Nabakrishna Deb of the Shobhabazar Rajbari of Calcutta in the year 1757.
 
 
History:
 
A considerable literature exists around Durga in the Bengali language and its early forms, including 'avnirnaya' (11th century), 'Durgabhaktitarangini'  by Vidyapati (14th century), etc.
 
Durga Puja was popular in Bengal in the medieval period, and records show that it was being held in the courts of Raajshahi (16th century) and Nadia district (18th century). It was during the 18th century, however, that the worship of Durga became popular among the landed aristocracy of Bengal, the Zamindars. Prominent Pujas were conducted by the landed zamindars and jagirdars, being enriched by emerging British rule, including Raja Nabakrishna Deb, of Shobhabajar, who initiated an elaborate Puja at his residence. Many of these old puja exist to this day. Interestingly the oldest such Puja to be conducted at the same venue is located in Rameswarpur, Orissa, where it has been continuing for the last four centuries since the Ghosh Mahashays from Kotarang near Howrah migrated there as a part of Todarmal's contingent during Akbar's rule.
 
Today, the culture of Durga Puja has shifted from the princely houses to 'Sarbojanin' (literally, "involving all") forms. The first such puja was held at Guptipara - it was called 'baarowari' ('baaro' meaning twelve and 'yaar' meaning friends)
 
 
 
Evaluation of Community or 'Sharbojanin Puja':
 
Initially the Puja was organised by affluent families since they had the money to organize the festival. During the late 19th and early 20th century, a burgeoning middle class, primarily in Calcutta, wished to observe the Puja. They created the community or Sarbojanin Pujas.
These Pujas are organized by a committee which represents a locality or neighbourhood. They collect funds called "chaanda" through door-to-door subscriptions. These funds are pooled and used for the expenses of pandal construction, idol construction, ceremonies etc. The balance of the fund is generally donated to a charitable cause, as decided by the committee. Corporate sponsorships of the Pujas have gained momentum since the late 1990s. Major Pujas in Calcutta and in major metro areas such as Delhi and Chennai now derive almost all of their funds from corporate sponsorships. Community fund drives have become a formality.
Despite the resources used to organise a Puja, entry of visitors into the Pandal is generally free. Pujas in Calcutta and elsewhere experiment with innovative concepts every year. Communities have created prizes for Best Pandal, Best Puja, and other categories.
 
 
Creation of the idols:
 
The entire process of creation of the idols (murti) from the collection of clay to the ornamentation is a holy process, supervised by rites and other rituals. On the Hindu date of Akshaya Tritiya when the Ratha Yatra is held, clay for the idols is collected from the banks of a river, preferably the Ganges. After the required rites, the clay is transported from which the idols are fashioned. An important event is 'Chakkhu Daan', literally, 'painting the eyes'. Starting with Devi Durga, the eyes of the idols are painted on Mahalaya or the first day of the Pujas. Before painting on the eyes, the artisans fast for a day and eat only vegetarian food.
Many Pujas in and around Kolkata buy their idols from 'Kumartuli' (also Kumortuli), an artisans' town in north Calcutta.

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Debipriya

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Posted: 01 October 2011 at 3:11am | IP Logged
 
Durga Puja
 
Durga puja mood starts off with the 'Mahishasuramardini' (http://india-forums.com/forum_posts.asp?TID=1426026&PID=47155141&#47155141 ) – a two-hour radio programme, that has been popular with the community since the 1950s. While earlier it used to be conducted live, later a recorded version began to be broadcast. Bengalis traditionally wake up at 4 in the morning on Mahalaya day to listen to the enchanting voice of the late Birendra Krishna Bhadra and the late Pankaj Kumar Mullick on All India Radio as they recite hymns from the scriptures from the 'Devi Mahatmyam' (Chandi Path). 

During the week of Durga Puja, in the entire state of West Bengal as well as in large enclaves of Bengalis everywhere, life comes to a complete standstill. In playgrounds, traffic circles, ponds—wherever space may be available—elaborate structures called 'pandals'  are set up, many with nearly a year's worth of planning behind them. The word 'pandal' means a 'temporary structure', made of bamboo and cloth, which is used as a 'temporary temple for the purpose of the puja'. While some of the pandals are simple structures, others are often elaborate works of art with themes that rely heavily on history, current affairs and sometimes pure imagination.
 
Somewhere inside these complex edifices is a stage on which Durga reigns, standing on her lion mount, wielding ten weapons in her ten hands. This is the 'religious center' of the festivities, and the crowds gather to offer flower worship or 'pushpanjali' on the mornings, of the sixth to ninth days of the waxing moon fortnight known as 'Devi Pakshya' (lit. 'Devi' = goddess; 'Pakshya' = period; Devi Pakshya meaning 'the period of the goddess'). Ritual drummers – 'dhaakis', carrying large leather-strung 'dhak' –– show off their skills during ritual dance worships called aarati. On the tenth day, Durga the mother returns to her husband, Shiva; ritualised through her immersion into the waters–– 'Bishorjon' also known as 'Bhaashan' and 'Niranjan'.
 
 
 
Today's Puja, however, goes far beyond religion. In fact, visiting the pandals recent years, one can only say that Durga puja is the largest outdoor art festival on earth. In the 1990s, a preponderance of architectural models came up on the pandal exteriors, but today the art motif extends to elaborate interiors, executed by trained artists, with consistent stylistic elements, carefully executed and bearing the name of the artist.
 
The sculpture of the idol itself has evolved. The worship always depicts Durga with her four children, and occasionally two attendant deities and some banana-tree figures. In the olden days, all five idols would be depicted in a single frame, traditionally called 'ekchaala'. Since the 1980s however, the trend is to depict each idol separately.
 
 
 
At the end of six days, the idol is taken for immersion in a procession amid loud chants of 'Bolo Durga mai-ki Jai' ('glory be to Mother Durga') and 'aashchhe bochhor aabar hobe' ('it will happen again next year') and drumbeats to the river or other water body. It is cast in the waters symbolic of the departure of the deity to her home with her husband in the Himalayas. After this, in a tradition called 'Vijaya Dashami', families visit each other and sweetmeats are offered to visitors ('Dashami' is literally "tenth day" and 'Vijay' is "victory").
 
In short- Durga Puja commemorates the annual visit of the Goddess with Her children to Her parents' home, leaving finally on the Dashami to be re-united with Shiva. This leaving ceremony is symbolised by the immersion of the idols on Dashami.
 
 
Durga Puja is also a festivity of Good (Ma Durga) winning over the evil (Mahishasur the demon). It is a worship of power of Good which always wins over the bad.
 
 
 
 
 
Popular culture specific to the puja:
 
 
Durga Puja is one of the most important events in the Bengali society's calendar. Many Bengali films, albums and books are released to coincide with the Puja. The West Bengal government gives a fortnight of holidays for the Pujas. This time is used in various ways. Many people travel in India or abroad. Gatherings of friends called "Aadda" in Bengali is common in many homes and restaurants. A lot of shopping is done, and retailers cash in on this opportunity with special offers.
Visiting pandals with friends and family, talking and sampling the food sold near them is known as pandal hopping. Young people embrace this activity. Pujor Gaan (Songs of Puja) are the Aadhunik (modern) Bengali songs that come out every year during this time.
 
 

Media Attention:

TV and radio channels telecast Puja celebrations. Many Bengali channels devote whole days to the Pujas. Bengali and Oriya weekly magazines bring out 'special issues' for the Puja known as 'Pujabarshiki' or 'Sharadiya Sankhya'. These contain the works of many writers both established and upcoming and are thus much bigger than the regular issues.
 

Movies:

                    Famous director Satyajit Ray's film Joi Baba Felunath is centred around Durga Puja and his movie Nayak also has a Durga Puja reference.
                    Ritupo*no Ghosh's Hirer Angti, Utsav and Antarmahal all are centred around Durga Puja.
                    The Hindi film "Devdas" interweaves the celebration of Durga Puja into its story line.
 
 
 
 

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Debipriya

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Posted: 01 October 2011 at 3:34am | IP Logged
 
 
 

Goddess Durga:


The Mother Goddess & Her Symbolism

Goddess Durga is the mother of the universe and believed to be the power behind the work of creation, preservation, and destruction of the world. Since time immemorial she has been worshipped as the supreme power of the Supreme Being and has been mentioned in many scriptures - Yajur Veda, Vajasaneyi Samhita and Taittareya Brahman.
 

The Meaning of "Durga"

The word "Durga" in Sanskrit means a fort, or a place which is difficult to overrun. Another meaning of "Durga" is "Durgatinashini" which literally translates into "the one who eliminates sufferings." Thus, Hindus believe that goddess Durga protects her devotees from the evils of the world and at the same time removes their miseries.
 
 
 

The Many Forms of Durga

There are many incarnations of Durga: Kali, Bhagvati, Bhavani, Ambika, Lalita, Gauri, Kandalini, Java, Rajeswari, et al. Durga incarnated as the united power of all divine beings, who offered her the required physical attributes and weapons to kill the demon "Mahishasur". Her nine appellations are Skondamata, Kusumanda, Shailaputri, Kaalratri, Brahmacharini, Maha Gauri, Katyayani, Chandraghanta and Siddhidatri.
 
 
 

Durga's Many Arms

Durga is depicted as having eight or ten hands. These represent eight quadrants or ten directions in Hinduism. This suggests that she protects the devotees from all directions.
 
 

Durga's Three Eyes

Like Shiva, Mother Durga is also referred to as "Triyambake" meaning the three eyed Goddess. The left eye represents desire (the moon), the right eye represents action (the sun), and the central eye knowledge (fire).
 
 

Durga's Vehicle - the Lion

The lion represents power, will and determination. Mother Durga riding the lion symbolises her mastery over all these qualities. This suggests to the devotee that one has to possess all these qualities to get over the demon of ego.
 
 
 
 
 

Durga's Many Weapons

                        The conch shell in Durga's hand symbolizes the 'Pranava' or the mystic word 'Om', which indicates her holding on to God in the form of sound.
 
                        The bow and arrows represent energy. By holding both the bow and arrows in one hand "Mother Durga" is indicating her control over both aspects of energy - potential and kinetic.
 
 
                        The thunderbolt signifies firmness. The devotee of Durga must be firm like thunderbolt in one's convictions. Like the thunderbolt that can break anything against which it strikes, without being affected itself, the devotee needs to attack a challenge without losing his confidence.
 
                        The lotus in Durga's hand is not in fully bloomed, It symbolizing certainty of success but not finality. The lotus in Sanskrit is called "pankaja" which means born of mud. Thus, lotus stands for the continuous evolution of the spiritual quality of devotees amidst the worldly mud of lust and greed.
 
 
                        The "Sudarshan-Chakra" or beautiful discus, which spins around the index finger of the Goddess, while not touching it, signifies that the entire world is subservient to the will of Durga and is at her command. She uses this unfailing weapon to destroy evil and produce an environment conducive to the growth of righteousness.
 
                        The sword that Durga holds in one of her hands symbolizes knowledge, which has the sharpness of a sword. Knowledge which is free from all doubts, is symbolized by the shine of the sword.
 
 
                        Durga's trident or "trishul" is a symbol of three qualities - Satwa (inactivity), Rajas (activity) and Tamas (non-activity) - and she is remover of all the three types of miseries - physical, mental and spiritual.
Devi Durga stands on a lion in a fearless pose of "Abhay Mudra", signifying assurance of freedom from fear. The universal mother seems to be saying to all her devotees: "Surrender all actions and duties onto me and I shall release thee from all fears".
 
 
 

 

 

10 Days with the Mother Goddess!

Navaratri, Durga Puja & Dusshera:- 

 


 

Every year during the lunar month of Ashwin or Kartik (September-October), Hindus observe ten days of ceremonies, rituals, fasts and feasts in honor of the supreme mother goddess. It begins with the fast of "Navaratri", and ends with the festivities of "Dusshera" and "Vijayadashami."
 
 
 

Goddess Durga

This festival is devoted solely to the Mother Goddess — known variously as Durga, Bhavani, Amba, Chandika, Gauri, Parvati, Mahishasuramardini — and her other manifestations. The name "Durga" means "inaccessible", and she is the personification of the active side of the divine "shakti" energy of  Lord Shiva. In fact, she represents the furious powers of all the male gods, and is the ferocious protector of the righteous, and destroyer of the evil. Durga is usually portrayed as riding a lion, and carrying weapons in her many arms.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Related Links:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Lots and Lots of Best Wishes for all of you on the occasion of Durga Puja! Hug Have a Blessed time!  Hug  Hug
 
 
Do share more Articles/ Pics./ Songs/ Videos/ VMs of Ma Durga here in the coming days Smile
 
 
Joy Ma Durga!

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Urmila11

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Posted: 01 October 2011 at 8:33am | IP Logged
Read the original story of Shri Ram's akal bodhon of Durga Mata here, Smile

http://www.india-forums.com/forum_posts.asp?TID=1695704&TPN=8

Jai Maa Durga! Smile


Edited by Urmila11 - 03 October 2011 at 1:13am

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Posted: 01 October 2011 at 12:13pm | IP Logged
Jai Maa Durga







Edited by ...PARiNA... - 01 October 2011 at 12:27pm

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Posted: 01 October 2011 at 12:30pm | IP Logged
Beautiful post Di !!! do share how u celebrated ... as Bengolies  celebrate in a big way ... more then us Wink


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Posted: 01 October 2011 at 2:35pm | IP Logged

Happy Durga Puja/Navratri Puja to all



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Posted: 01 October 2011 at 5:58pm | IP Logged
Reserved! Beautiful thread!

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