Vanarasi Durga Puja in Benarasi style with time table

Durga puja is the main festival of West Bengal.It is celebrated with great zeal and joy.People buy new clothes on this occasion.If one wants to visit Kolkata then he should do so during Durga puja.
The festival Durga puja is related with Hindu Mythology.According to Hindu Mythology there was a Demon named Mahishasur.He had blessing from God Brahma.According to blessing only woman can defeat and kill him.He thought woman are weak.So there is no chance that he can be defeated or killed.

Vanarasi Durga Puja in Benarasi style with time table

 Picture taken in 2013 at Maddox Square. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Gods were unable to defeat him.He became fearless and his demonic activities raised day by day.Due to his increasing demonic activities the very existence of Universe was in danger.
Gods worshiped Aadi Shakti to get rid of this demon.Aadi Shakti took form of Goddess Durga.Goddess Durga has ten hands and sits on tiger.The hands carried different weapons.Aadi Shakti fought with Mahishasur and killed him.
It was win of Good over Bad.It was win of Woman power over evil power.Durga puja is celebrated in memory of above mythological event.Till date most of the Durga puja idols present Maa Durga on tiger with ten hands and killing Mahishasur.

10 days of Durga Puja

Durga puja is celebrated over ten days.The first day is known as Mahalaya.It also marks beginning of Navaratra as well.The ten days of Durga puja are
  1. Mahalaya
  2. Dwitiya
  3. Tritiya
  4. Chaturthi
  5. Panchami
  6. Sashthi
  7. Saptami
  8. Astami
  9. Navami
  10. Dashmi
Of these ten days first day Mahalaya and last four days (Saptami,Astami also called MahaAstami,Navami also called MahaNavami and Dashmi) are of major importance.

How is Durga puja celebrated?

On auspicious day of Mahalaya worship of Goddess Durga starts.You can see programs showing Mahishasur vadh (Goddess Durga ending Mahishasur).The programs also feature Stuti (chanting mantras of Maa Durga) of Maa Durga as well.People performing Nine day long Navratri puja should do Kalash Sthapana on this very day.
After Mahalaya the four days are spend decorating already created Puja Pandals and shopping for puja.Puja pandals are creations in which idol of Goddess Durga is kept and worshiped.Mostly a society or locality hosts their puja collectively.They create a common puja pandal and worship Maa Durga there.
Few people also keep Goddess Durga idol as home and worship there.There are many families which are carrying tradition of hosting puja in their home for more than hundred year.So Durga puja is deeply rooted in culture of Bengal.
People visit Puja Pandals in large number on Saptami,Astami and Navami.Few people also start pandal visit on Sashthi as well.The reason is huge crowds on other days.Navami is specially over crowded as it is last day of puja.These three days are very special for people of Bengal.
The art and culture of West Bengal is at its best during Durga puja.The idols and pandals are excellent example of innovation and cultural blend.Each year themes are pandal themes are different.
On Dashmi (the tenth day) idols of Goddess Durga is dispersed in holy river Ganges.If Ganges are not present in that area then pond or any other river is used for dispersion.This process is known as Visarjan.
It is also very picturesque and decorated day.All puja committees carry the idol along with musical drums and lightening. People dance in front of the idol carrying vehicle.Huge crowd gathers banks of river Ganges to see Visarjan yatra.It is an all night event.One by one puja committees come with their Idols and do Visarjan.
It is also a tradition to visit your relatives on Dashmi.Family gathering also happen on this last day.The ten day long fun and spiritual day ends with feeling of togetherness and love.

Durga puja dates 2013/ 2014

This year Durga puja starts from 5th October on Saturday.According to some MahaNavami and Dashmi are on same day that is Sunday.But some say that Dashmi is on Sunday.
  • 5th October    — Mahalaya
  • 6th October    — Dwitiya
  • 7th October    — Tritiya
  • 8th October    — Chaturthi
  • 9th October    – Panchami
  • 10th October  – Sasthi
  • 11th October   – Saptami
  • 12th October  — Mahashtami
  • 13th October   – Navami
  • 14th October   – Vijaya Dasami

Durga puja arrangements

The arrangements made for pujas are excellent.Help centers are placed within short distances.Puja pandal map are also available as holdings.Directions are shown at every roads.Thus new comers to Kolkata should not be bothered about safety issues.The people are very helpful and generous State government and other private institutions give 3 days holidays for this puja. The holidays are on Astami,Navami and Dashmi.This also helps in creating holiday cloud over the sky of West Bengal.Some regions do celebrate Jagadhatri puja on bigger scale than Durga Puja.Chandannagore and Rishra situated in Hooghly district near Kolkata are most famous for Jagadhatri puja.

Importance of Durga puja

Symbol of Woman power
Durga puja also establishes importance of woman in Hindu culture and Mythology.Goddess Durga is symbol of woman power.The mythological story behind the puja also establishes that fact.Mahishasur was unbeatable and can only be defeated by woman.He was not worried about it as in his opinion woman are weak.
But in the end he was killed by a woman Maa Durga.In Hindu Mythology Woman is demonstrated as all powerful Goddess.She is creator of society.She is main force behind growth of human race and society and saving this world from demons like Mahishasur.
The biggest of threats to this society and civilization can only be ended by Woman.Durga puja establishes this fact.People should understand this message behind Durga puja while celebrating this festival.Then only true motive of this festival can be realized.
Method of Effective Recycling
Durga puja can work as effective method for recycling.Many people would not agree on this point.The reason is Visarjan of idols in Ganges add to pollution.So there is no way recycle process can be part of Durga puja.
But things have changed over the years.The decoration and pandal creation methods and style have changed drastically and people are now using the common materials for this purpose.
The focus is on creating scenery showing the culture and tradition of Bengali art.Display of art and culture using the common things are mainly driven by inflation and environment protection.
Recycling of waste plastic bottles and other waste materials can be effectively done after the pujas.These materials are collected for decoration and after pujas they can be disposed.
Durga puja effective recycling method
Above is one of such pujas using plastic bottles,mud,straws and other waste products to create puja scenery. So Durga puja can act as effective method of collecting recycle items,use them for artistic creation and finally recycle them.But lot of work needs to be done in this area.
Durga puja should be projected as major tourist event.It currently attracts lots of visitors from West Bengal only.Promoting Durga puja as tourist event will be beneficial for tourism industry and economy of state as well.It can be made big to attract foreign tourists as well as tourists from other parts of our country.
Social Value
Durga puja is a social event.It brings friends and families together.Saptami,Astami and Navami is spend with immediate family and friends visiting puja pandals.The last day is celebrated taking blessing of elders and visiting relatives.
At present social values are losing importance and their is need to bringing people together.Durga puja is one such occasion.Durga puja is based on theme of love,togetherness and social value.

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