Durga Puja Celebrations

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Travel Features >> Durga Puja Celebrations

Durga Puja Celebrations

September 22, 2014

The best time to be in West Bengal, and especially Kolkata is during the festive time of Durga Puja. Durga Puja 2014 falls between September 25 and 4 October, held in honour of Goddess Durga destroying the demon Mahishasura and is a demonstration of how good overcomes evil.

The streets of Kolkata are spruced up to look festive and almost every locality has its own pendant adorned with idols of Goddess Durga dressed up in all her finery. Elaborate structures called pandals are set up and are used as a temporary temple for the purpose of the puja. The Durga Puja celebrations in India run for ten days and the last day is known as Dashami when the visarjan or immersion takes place. This is done with great pomp and celebration whereby processions along with the idols are taken to the river or sea for the immersion.

The most interesting part of Durga Puja is how the Bengalis embrace the Goddess Durga and she is ushered in to their homes as the proverbial daughter who comes her parents home. So instead of worshipping her from a distance the Bengalis embrace her and treat her as an inseparable member of the family durga stays for four days along with her children, Ganesha, Laxmi, Kartik and Saraswati and makes her return journey to her husband's home on Vijaya Dashami.

Although the actual celebrations for Durga Puja start on the sixth day of the festive season, the preparations start many months before. Artisans start making idols of Goddess Durga In clay. The pandals are built and decorated and these are mostly all sponsored by a community as its expensive business.The pandal or tableaux are adorned with Durga in the act of destroying Mahishasura the demon. There is a race to make the pandal very attractive as usually there is prize for the most beautifully decorated pandal and this is a most prestigious award that everyone wants to win.

Durga Puja is most popular festival in India and everyone is in a festive mood, schools are shut and some offices too. New clothes are bought, the women practice their dancing and singing, there are gifts for the children and sweets are made and distributed and there is a general feeling of bonhomie that settles over the people.

Durga Puja Schedule 2014
September 30, 2014 – MahaShashti
October 1, 2014 – MahaSaptami
October 2, 2014 – Maha Ashtami or Mahashtami
October 3, 2014 – Mahanabami or Mahanavami
October 4, 2014 – VijayaDasami or Vijayadashami

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