The worship of Durga in the autumn (Bengali: শরৎ Shôrot) is the year's largest Hindu festival of Bengal. Durga Puja is also celebrated in Nepal and Bhutan according to local traditions and variations. Puja means "worship," and Durga's Puja is celebrated from the sixth to tenth day of the waning moon in the month of Ashvin (Bengali: আশ্বিন 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 (Bengali: কার্তিক). In the Gregorian calendar, these dates correspond to the months of September and October.
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 Basanti Puja [One of the oldest 'sabeki' Basanti Puja is held every year at spring in Barddhaman Pal Bari at Raniganga Bazar, M.K.Chatterjee Rd near Karjon Gate], is also present in the Hindu almanac. Since the season of the puja is autumn, it is also known as (Bengali: শারদীয়া '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.
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.
Hundreds of puja pandals are set up every year in the Siliguri Mahakuma area. The city is adorned with many colourful pandal, glorious "Protima", colourful lighting and sounds. The puja in Saktigarh, Hakimpara, Rabindra Sangha, Rathkhola, Champashari, Central Colony (N.R.I), Silpanchal(Burdwan Road) and Saktigarh Utjal Sangha are famous and the oldest durga puja in this area.
Silpanchal Durga Puja committee is recognized as one of the oldest puja is town which was established in 1955 and is famous for the "Protima" and many other social activities they undertake during Pujas.
One of the oldest puja in Siliguri is of Swastika Yubak Sangha. It's one of the most crowd gathering puja of the region. The Puja Committee completed its 50th year of celebrations in 2009.
One of oldest Durga Puja is held at a village named Chanduli, 12 km from Katwa city, which is more than 350 years old. The Puja is held under the auspices of Mitra bari Debottor estate and here Goddess Durga has two hands visible in place of ten hands. Here, Devi Durga is glorious and famous in this locality. Guptipara
In 1790 First Barwary puja held in this village of West Bengal in the district of Hooghly. Great Goswami family of Dhaka is now at Guptipara led by Satyendra Nath Goswami, Roypara.
Lataguri is a small village in Jalpaiguri district. It has an old tradition of Durga Puja with lots of joy and cultural values in the heart of the people. Prantik Sangha, Netaji Sangha, Friends Club, Pal Chowdhury Bari (Family Puja) are some of the oldest pujas to name a few. In the day of Shashthi, Maha Saptami, Maha Ashtami, Maha Nabami and Bijoya Dashami people here celebrate it in a grand way with lots of joy. Specially in Prantik Sangha (Post Office Para) they have an old tradition of celebrating "Raksha Raksha" (Prayers offered to Durga to save whole body and mind and to give happiness and prosperity) by exchanging warmth of happiness and respect among the people with touching elder person's feet and hugging each other. After that small sweet balls laddu are distributed among the people. "Raksha Raksha" is celebrated in the day of Bijoya Dashami after idols (murtis) of Goddess Durga with her family are immersed in the most convenient body of water. The members of Pal Chowdhury Bari march to the pond near about half a kilometer for immersion of the goddess by taking it on their shoulder. This tradition has been following for 61 years.
Hundreds of puja pandals are set up every year in the Berhampore, Cossimbazar, Khagra jagdamba mandir (kajal saha & ganesh bhakat MULTIFRESH, Madhupur, Gorabazaar area. All pandal are decorated with lights and sounds. Swarnamoyee, Baganpara, Bishtupur, Madhupur Balark Sangha, Ranibagan, Kadai, Swargadham, Ajana Sangha, Cossimbazar Choto Rajbari are famous and the oldest durga puja from this area. Cossimbazars Puja is the oldest puja which is about 300 years old. All visitors are mostly from Berhampore city and coming through different part of Murshidabad. district and adjacent districts. Specially the Astami and Nabami nights are filled with crowd from different part of the district. Visitors come out on the roads with their family and friends. They enjoy the festival through the night. Also the Bisorjon (immersion of idol) to Bhagarathi River is a beautiful scene. A huge number of visitors gather on the river side (Gorabajar Ghat, Khagra Ghat) to visit the last journey of Durga Pratima. Generally the pandals and idols of Madhupur area win the prizes and famous artists perform during these days. Lighting from Chandan Nagar is done in this area to a great extent to increase the beauty of the Puja nights.
In other parts of India
After West Bengal, Assam is the second state where Durga Puja is celebrated popularly and widely. In Silchar more than 300 exhibits, known as pandals, decorated with lights, sculptures and other art forms are created. After Bihu, Durga Puja is the most popular festival of Assam. According to historian Late Benudhar Sarma, the present form of worship of Durga with earthen idol in Assam was started during the reign of Ahom King Susenghphaa or Pratap Singha. The King heard about the festivity, the pomp and grandeur with which the King Naranarayan of Koch Bihar celebrated Durga Puja from one Sondar Gohain, who was under captivity of the Koch raja. King Pratap Singha sent artisans to Koch Bihar to learn the art of idol making. The King organised the first such Durga Puja celebration in Bhatiapara near Sibsagar. This was the first time Durga Puja with earthen idols in Assam was held for the masses, in addition to the worship in Durga temples like Kamakhya, Digheswari Temple, Maha Bhairabi Temple, Ugrotara, Tamreswari Mandir, etc. Subsequently, similar Pujas were celebrated by other Kings and nobles. Nowadays the Durga Puja is mostly a community festival celebrated in all the cities, towns, villages of Assam with great festivity and religious fervour for five days.
Durga Puja is one of the major festivals in Patna. Hundreds of pandals are set up with carnivals. The city witnesses a huge surge in visitors in the four days from Maha Saptami. More than 100exhibits, known as pandals, decorated with lights, sculptures and other art forms are created. Ancient Places of Patna Durga Puja includes Bari and Chhoti PatanDevi Maa Shitla Mandir Agamkuan etc.
Navaratri is devoted to Amba mataji. In some homes, images of mataji are worshiped in accordance with accepted practice. This is also true of the temples, which usually have a constant stream of visitors from morning to night. The most common form of public celebration is the performance of garba and dandia-ras/ras-garba (a form of garba with sticks), Gujarat's popular folk-dance, late throughout the nights of these nine days in public squares, open grounds and streets.
Durga Puja is celebrated with many carnivals. The festival mood starts from Mahalaya, a huge surge in visitors is witnessed during the last four days of the festival, arriving from cities like Jamshedpur (TATA), Ranchi, Dhanbaad, etc. There are so many pandals as like as at Kolkata and Cuttack which makes interesting and enjoyful in these days at there. Some of highlighted Pandals are:
- Adityapur (by Jai Ram Youth Sporting Club Jamshedpur, near Kharhkhai Bridge)
- Kashidih (by Thakur Pyara Singh Dhurandhar Singh club, Jamshedpur)
- Bhuyandih (by Dulal BHuyan Club)
- Rani Kudar (by Hind Club)
- Sakchi, Aam Bagan (by Bengal Club)
- Kadma and Farm Area, Jamshedpur
- Mango, Jamshedpur
- Sonari, Jamshedpur
- Birsanagar, Jamshedpur
- Bhalubasa, Jamshedpur
- 26 No. Road Telco, Jamshedpur
Durga Puja is celebrated in a grand way in this state. In Mysore, Dussehra is easily the most popular festival. Elephants are decked up with robes and jewellery and taken in processions through the streets of the city. In fact, many people visit Mysore from all over the country to watch this colorful event. There is also a floating festival in the temple tank at the foot of Chamundi Hill and a procession of chariots around the temple at the top.
Mysore is named after Mahishasur, the very demon which was slain by the Goddess. The original Indian name was Mahishur. There are temples dedicated to the demon king and even a gigantic statue of the demon in the city.
Hindus in Jammu and Kashmir celebrate their festivals with pomp and show. These days, festivities are more subdued. The favorite deities of Kashmir are Lord Shiva and Serawali Ma Durga, the one who rides the tiger. Pundits\Dogris and Muslims alike vouch that Navratri is important. Here each Hindu household does the puja at home. All the adult members of the household fast on water. In the evenings, fruit may be taken. As elsewhere, Dogris grow barley in earthen pots. They believe that if the growth in this pot is good, there is prosperity all year. The most important ritual for Kashmiri Pandits is to visit the temple of guardian goddess Kheer Bhawani on all nine days. On the last day of Navratri, an aarti is held at the temple, after which people break their fast. On Dussehra day, Ravana's effigy is burnt.
In Kerala, Durga Puja signifies the beginning of formal education for every child aged 3–5 years. While puja goes on in the temple for all ten days, it is the concluding three days which are most important. Ashtami is the day of Ayudya Puja, when all the tools at home are worshipped. Custom dictates that no tools be used on this day. On navami day, Goddess Saraswati is honored by worshipping the books and records at home.
Thousands throng the Saraswati temple at Kottayam during this period to take a dip in the mysterious holy pond, whose source is yet unknown. Large gatherings are also seen at the famous temples at Thekkegram (Palghat), in which there are no idols, only huge mirrors. A devotee finds himself bowing before his own reflection, which symbolizes that God is within us.
Thrikkavu Temple, a famous Durga Devi Temple at Ponnani, Malapuram District of Kerala, is also famous for Navaratri festival and vidyarambham (beginning of formal education). Thousands of children throng this temple on vijaya desami day for vidyarambham. Santhanantha Matom at Mangadu in Kollam observes Navaratri festival with all the religious purity and rituals. On the tenth day, The Vijaya desami, Children perform Vidyarambham here not only for education, but also for various arts and music.
Maharashtra and Goa
In Maharashtra, Durga Puja is an enjoyable occasion. Puja is performed each day and devotees do not remove the flower garland that is put each day on the idol or image of the deity. After nine days, all nine garlands are removed together. Young girls who have not attained maturity are invited to eat, play games, dance and sing. An elephant is drawn with rangoli, and the girls play guessing games.It is called as 'bhodala' Then they are fed a meal of their choice.In maharastra there is also played 'Jogava' & 'Gondhal' for Goddess.
Nashik boasts of four major ones celebrated by "prabashi" Bengalis' – like the ones at the Government of India Press grounds, the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (H.A.L)in Ojhar, then the one at Artillery Station,Deolali and one in the industrial area of Satpur-Ambad.
In Goa great festivities take place in all the temples,especially Devi temples like of shree Shantadurga, shree Mhalasa Narayani, shree Vijayadurga.Preople fast and observe festivities at home.
In 1910, a year before Delhi was declared the capital of British India, the first sArbojanIn (community) puja in Delhi was organized near Kashmiri Gate by a group of expatriate bengalis, including the doctor Hemchandra Sen. This group became the Delhi Durga Puja Samiti, popularly known as the Kashmere Gate Puja. The Timarpur puja (near Delhi University) started in 1914. The pujas at Minto Road and Mata Sundari Road started shortly thereafter. By the 1970s, 40 pujas were being held in Delhi.
Today, over 800 pujas are held in Delhi, with a few hundred more in Gurgaon and Noida each. By the 1970s, 40 pujas were being celebrated in Delhi, with many theater troupes performing. Bengali movies would be screened late into the night at many pandals. Today movies have given way to cultural functions, with many of the top kolkata music artistes and other cultural shows being hosted at various delhi pandals. Chittaranjan Park has the highest density of pujas, with nine large sArbojanIn pujas and several family celebrations, and the pandals reflect many Kolkata trends.
Pujas at the New Delhi Kalibari and Chittaranjan Park Kali Mandir are held in a very traditional manner, following all rituals. Many of the older pujas of Delhi also maintain a traditional style; the one in Kashmiri gate going to bisarjan in a bullock cart as in the days of yore. As is the wont with Durga Pujas, factionalism has also led to opposition, and in 2011, a puja group had to shift venue after being opposed by nearby residents.
Various accounts exist which ascribe the origin of Durga Puja in the state of Orissa. All historical accounts agree on the influence from other regions although some mythological accounts describe an independent origin.
Durga Puja is a festival, which is observed for 10 days. Orissa, the land of Lord Jagannath,the land of powerful Hindu Kingdom, the land of Raja & Maharaja's, the royals of Orissa patronage anuual Sharodiyo Utsav before the state abolition with Republic of India. The Durga Puja is celebrated in two different ways in Orissa. In Shakti peethas (temples of goddess) the Durga Puja is observed with proper rituals for 10 to 16 days known as Shodasa Upachara/Shohala dinatmaka,which starts from 7 days earlier to mahalaya called as mulastami and ends on Vijayadashami, dussehra. Goddess Durga is also worshiped by devotees in different pandals in form deities across the state. The pandals are decorated with beautiful decoratives.
According to Markandeya Purana the King of Chedi dynasty Suratha started rituals of Durga Puja during 300B.C.The Chedi dynasty belongs to Kalinga(modern Orissa). Durga Puia has different names in different Puranas and Sastras. In Devi Purana & Kalika Purana it is named as Vijaya Dashami. It is named as Mahaparbana in Devi Mahatmya and Duseehera in Markandeya Purana.
The present form of worship of Durga with earthen idol in Orissa was started during the reign of Ganga King Chodaganga Dev in the 11th century at Puri. The earthen idol of Mahishamardini Durga is known as Gosani and the Dussehra fesival is known as Gosani Yatra. It is noteworthy that the co-worship of Mahisamardini Durga with Madhava (Lord Jagannath) is prevalent from 11th century, Eastern Ganga dynasty period, in Puri.
Before the concept of Sarvajanin Durga Puja started, it was being conducted by princely houses and the first such Puja being conducted anywhere in the world at the same venue and continuing till date is in Orissa. It is at Rameswarpur in Bhadrak district of the state, where it was started about four centuries ago by the Mahashay family who migrated in from Kotarang near Howrah as a part of Todarmal's famous survey of India during Emperor Akbar's rule.
It is said that in the year 1512 to 1517 Chaitanya Deva had come to Cuttack, the capital of Gajapati empire of Orissa and the then emperor of Orissa Gajapati Pratap Rudra Dev received him at Gadagadia Ghata situated near the river bank of Mahanadi very close to the kings Palace popularly known as Barabati fort. In that year Sri Chatanya Deva started Durga puja at Binod Bihari temple presently known as Balu Bazar. Further it is also believed that Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, whose birth placed is Cuttack had organized Durga puja with great pomp and show to organize youngsters in British India exactly like Lokamanya Balagangadar Tilak had done it at Maharastra(the Ganesh Utsav).
The first recorded Sarvajanin Durga Puja in the state is said to have been in the year 1832 in the Kazibajaar area of Cuttack
A pandal in Orissa is called "Medho". For many years, the most expensive installation was the ChaandiMerrha (Chaandi means Silver) of Choudhuri Bajaar area of Cuttack. The ornamentation was done entirely in silver. A substantial increase in funding has led to the gold plating of the ornamentation. Now it is known as "Suna Medho" (Suna means Gold). A few other Pujas in Cuttack now have silver ornaments, too.
The Durga Puja festivities are also prominent in Maa Katak Chandi Temple. Maa Cuttack Chandi is the presiding deity of Cuttack. The goddess popularly called as Maa Katak Chandi, sits and rules on the heart of the ancient city. She is worshiped as Bhuvaneswari. Maa Chandi is worshipped in various incarnations of Durga during the puja. In Cuttack, people strongly believe Maa Katak Chandi as 'The Living Goddess'.
The largest Pujas are held in Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Balasore and Rourkela. Shaheed Nagar, Nayapalli and Rasulgarh spend the most on the idols, decorations, lighting, and other elements.
One reason for the wide acceptance of Durga Puja is the importance of Maa Tarini, who is considered one of the embodiments of Shakti in Oriya culture. In addition, the state is close to Bengal and the peoples share a common socio-cultural history spanning millennia. Orissa is home to many important shrines dedicated to the Goddess; great festivities are organised there on Durga and Kali Puja.
It is thus one of the prime festivals of Orissa as well. People in Orissa celebrate it on a large scale. The Goddess Durga is among the sacred goddesses of Orissa. The celebrations are quite similar to the neighbouring state of West Bengal.
People of Punjab strictly observe Navaratri. Some Punjabis have only milk for seven days before breaking the fast on ashtami or navami. They worship Durga Ma and do the aarti at home. Some of them have fruit or a complete meal only once a day. Intoxicating drinks or meat, and other forms of entertainment are completely avoided. At the end of the fast, devotees feed beggars or worship little girls who spell the Shakti of the Mother Goddess.
Durga Puja is Celebrated in the state of Tripura with all its pride and glory. Particularly, in the Capital city of Agartala. Population living in Here are ethnically 70% Bengali and religiously 86% Hindu, Therefore making it suitable for the Puja to be the single most important festival in the state. Mainly the pujas are held in various 'paras' which have their own local clubs organizing the yearly pujas. The best puja is in Agartala- Like Shanti kami, Shantipara, Usha Bazar, Badharghat, Pole Star, Milan Sangha etc. usually the clubs organize various cultural Shows to attract highest number of visitors to their pandals and also indulge in a friendly competition amongst themselves. the main centre for 'Visharjan' is the Dashamighat area of the city. Other cities where the puja takes place include Amarpur,Udaipur, Belonia, Kumarghat, Santir bazar, Sabrum, Dharmanagar.
Durga Puja is celebrated in the state of Andhra Pradesh at Vijayawada, Proddatur, Warangal dasara and Hyderabad with all its pride and glory. The temple in Vijayawada is located adjacent to Krishna River and near to Prakasham Barrage. The Dasara Celebrations In Proddatur stands 2nd place after mysore in South India. The temple in Warangal is located adjacent to Badrakali Lake located in Center. The distance from Vijayawada to Hyderabad is 280 km and also from Vijayawada to Tirupati (Loard Venkateswara or Balaji) temple is about 320 km. This temple is one of the biggest devotees place in South India. In Hyderabad, Durga Puja is being celebrated for more than 60 years now. There are 5 major organisation that celebrate the puja across the city.
Durga Puja celebrations in Dhakeshwari National Temple, Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Durga Puja in Köln (Cologne), Germany.
Durga Puja in Singapore, October 2010
Durga Puja is celebrated by the Indian diaspora residing in different parts of the world. It is also celebrated in regions and by people culturally and historically distinct from India.
Dussehra in Nepal is called Dashain. As it is chiefly a Hindu nation, the pattern and dates of the festivals coincide with those of India. The King of Nepal plays a key role in the festivities, particularly during Saptami or the Seventh day of the pujas. Despite the overthrow of monarchy in Nepal, the Royal Family still has a significant cultural role in the nation.
Bangladesh has the second largest Hindu population in the world. Being the greatest religious festival for Bengali Hindus, Durga Puja celebrations span across the country with over thousands of Puja Mandaps set in villages, towns and cities. Schools and colleges are closed for five days while the last day of the festival, Bijay Dashami, is a national holiday. The President of Bangladesh also hosts a National Reception for the Hindu community in Bangabhaban. Mymensingh is one of the renowned district where huge number of Durga puja and Kali Puja is celebrated every year.
United States, Europe and Australia
Durga Puja is organised by communities of Indians in the United States, Europe, and Australia. Although pandals are not constructed, the idols are flown in from Kumartuli in Bengal. The desire by the diaspora peoples to keep in touch with their cultural ties has led to a boom in religious tourism, as well as learning from priests or purohits versed in the rites. From 2006 the immersion of the Durga idol has been allowed in the Thames river for the festival which is held in London.
In the United States the pujas are often hosted during weekends with few exceptions. The puja weekends are time for Bengal friends and family to gather together to spend the weekend savoring Bengali culture. Cultural programs are held; there is food; stalls selling ethnic clothes, jewellery, books, music DVD's etc. There is a general atmosphere of festivity.
In Australia, the major Durga Puja festival were held in Sydney and Melbourne. They are also held very grandly in Perth, the capital of Western Australia. Bhog Distribution, Cultural Programmes, anjali and dhunuchi naach were the main events. BANSW and BPCSV were the main organizers in Sydney and Melbourne respectively.
London Sharad Utsav celebrates Durga Puja at Ealing Town Hall, London. This year (2011) London Sharad Utsav has tied up with College Square, Maddox Square, Bagbazar Sarbojonin, Ekdalia Evergreen & Singhi Park for Global Durga Puja - a historical initiative to bring Kolkata Pujos to UK with BanglaLive & Times of India. Watch Kolkata and LSU pujas on BanglaLive
In Germany several Durga Pujas are celebrated along with Bhog distribution and Anjali in Bremen puja.palweb.de, Berlin Durgapujaberlin.de (over 40 years old), Frankfurt(Main), Hamburg, Köln (Cologne), Durgapuja.de Stuttgart Ganguly.de/durgapuja/durga.html and Munich (München) Infoforu.de.
South East Asia
In Singapore, Bengali Association of Singapore (BAS) celebrates Durga Puja with Bhog distribution and Anjali along with cultural programs.