Durga Puja: All you need to know

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Last Updated on September 8, 2022

Durga puja is one of the most important festivals in India and it is mainly celebrated in the states of Bengal, Jharkhand, Assam, Tripura, Odisha, and Bihar. This festival marks the victory of good over evil and commemorates the time when Goddess Durga killed the demon known as Mahishasur. The important thing to note here is that Durga puja begins on the same day as Navratri and is also known as Durgotsava.

As per the Hindu calendar, this festival falls in the month of Ashwin, and in the Gregorian calendar, it is observed during the month of September-October. Generally, it is a ten days festival where the last 5 days are the most important and widely celebrated.

History

The origin of Durga Puja dates back to the late 1500s when the landlords and the zamindars of the Bengal region initiated this festival as a symbol of prestige. The origin of this festival as a community event is credited to 12 friends of Guptipara in Hooghly. They collected contributions from local residents to conduct this puja for the first time in 1790. Sanatan Dharmotsahini Sabha organized for the first time a true community puja in Bagbazar of Kolkata with full contribution from the public. These events and developments contributed immensely to the form of Durga puja that we witness today.

Significance

Durga puja is celebrated to commemorate the victory of Goddess Durga over Mahishasura who was a demon. The festival marks the victory of good over evil and it is also a festival of harvest which celebrates the goddess as the mother of life and creation. During these days, people seek the blessings of goddess Durga who blesses her devotees with fortunes and prosperity.

Durga Puja 2022

Begins: Saturday, 1st October

Ends: Wednesday, 5th October

How is this festival celebrated?

This festival is celebrated for 5 days where lights are put on the streets and in the houses. Most of the places where the idols of Durga are kept get decorated with rangoli, flowers, dia, etc. Many people keep fast and offer jal to different goddesses on different days. People also recite hymns and sing various songs as a part of this festival.

Celebration in various parts of India

The festival of Durga puja is celebrated widely in most parts of India, especially Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Assam, Delhi, etc. However, there are various states where this festival has a different kind of vibe and if you are planning to witness Durga Puja in its full colors then you must visit the below-listed places.

Bengal

It is the most important festival in Bengal and thousands of pandals are decorated across the state with colors and lights. The festival of Durga Puja is observed for five days and people from all over India visit West Bengal to witness its traditional and unique way of celebrating this festival. Most government institutions and educational institutions are closed for ten days and people get ample time to spend with their loved ones.

People in Bengal celebrate this festival by exchanging gifts, sweets, greetings, etc. People of other religions also come to witness the grand celebration of this festival and try to be part of it in every possible way. Kolkata is famous for its definition of Durga puja not only in India but across the world.

The streets here are lit up with LED lights and just in Kolkata itself, more than 45,000 pandals are set up. One can also hear traditional and beautiful songs being played across the streets. Fairs are also organized at various places and kids go with their parents to enjoy different kinds of events and food.

Guwahati

durga puja 2022

Guwahati which is located in Assam is one of the best places to visit during Durga Puja. The pandals that are set up here are some of the most beautiful decorations during this festival. When a celebration of Durga puja takes place, people from nearby areas also join in to witness the beauty of this celebration.

Different types of activities such as shopping, preparing special cuisines, visiting relatives, etc. can be seen everywhere. While you are in Guwahati, you can also visit Kamakhya temple, and Umananda temple to make your stay more exciting and memorable.

Delhi

Delhi is one place where people from all over India have come together and settled as a community. Therefore, the capital city witnesses various types of festivals being celebrated here. To enjoy the true colors and the beauty of Durga puja in New Delhi, one can visit C.R. Park where pandals are set up, Bengali dishes are prepared and you get to meet the local population of Bengal.

Another place where you can go is Ramlila Maidan where people from all sections of society gather together to witness this festival. One can also visit Kalkaji temple, Akshardham temple, Birla mandir, etc. to enjoy to the fullest.

Ahmedabad

Ahmedabad celebrates the festival of Durga Puja as a part of Dussehra. They mainly observe this festival to commemorate the killing of Ravan by Lord ram and during this time, they also burst crackers, and various kinds of dance drama are performed on the stages. People also perform their traditional dance known as dandiya at several places as part of this festival.

Mumbai

The celebration of Durga Puja in Mumbai is quite similar to that of West Bengal because it is mainly celebrated by the people of Bengal who live in Mumbai. However, there are various additions and alterations to this festival that you can witness in the form of decorations.

Many Bollywood celebrities also visit the pandals and seek the blessings of Goddess Durga. The celebration is also known for its delicious dishes and people come here especially to taste the local cuisine of Bengal. At various places in Mumbai, many traditional dance and song programs are organized that provide colors to the festival.

Varanasi

Here in Varanasi, the festival of Durga Puja is celebrated as a part of Dussehra which marks the victory of Lord Ram over Ravan. The idols of Goddess Durga and various other devi are made and children dress up as the characters of Ramayana to enact a drama.

On all days of this festival, various events from Ramayana are staged in the form of drama and people from nearby areas come to witness them in large numbers. Varanasi which is known for its purity and spirituality sees the arrival of various stages during this festival. It gets quite crowded and colourful during this time.

Pune

The city of Pune is famous for its unique and delicious delicacies that are offered during this festival. In this city, at the time of Durga Puja, many cultural programs such as dance, drama, and music events are organized. At various places, pandals are also set up and decorated beautifully. Other important places to visit in Pune during this time of the festival include Dagadusheth Ganapati temple, Malshej ghat, etc.

Katra

Katra is located in the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir and it is quite famous for the celebration of Durga Puja. People visit Vaishno Devi temple in Katra, especially during the time of Durga Puja. This celebration takes place for 9 days and one can witness beautiful decorations of lights on their way towards Vaishno Devi temple at the time of this festival.

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Frequently asked questions about Durga Puja

Who started Durga Puja first?

It is believed that the festival of Durga Puja was started by Nabakrishna Deb in 1757.

What is special about Durga Puja?

This festival marks the victory of good over evil and it also represents harvest time for many people.

What other countries celebrate Durga Puja?

The festival of Durga Puja is celebrated widely in India’s neighboring countries such as Bangladesh, Nepal, etc.

Can a widow do Durga Puja?

The festival of Durga Puja can be observed by anyone and everyone irrespective of their social status, gender, caste, or race.

What is needed for Durga Puja?

This festival can be celebrated by just praying to Goddess Durga for the well-being of yourself and your loved ones. And for those who want to celebrate it in a traditional way may need a picture or an idol of Maa Durga, red cloth, coconut, betel nuts, Flowers, coins, incense sticks, camphor, diyas, Raw rice, ghee, puja thali, etc.

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