Durgapuja is a big festival in Kolkata, and, indeed a great event. It is something to see to believe.
The evil Asura with a deep meditation got a wish … that he cannot be killed by any God. This gave him a real evil-power to torture other Gods as an when he wishes. The Gods were all perturbed and were sure that unless this Evil is destroyed, there can not be a lasting peace. But what is the way out. At this juncture they got the idea. Asura can not be killed by any God alright, but how about getting him killed by a Goddess ?
Devi Durga was entrusted with this task of destroying the evil, and the different Gods provided her different deadly weapons. Finally there was a fierce battle between Devi Durga and the Evil Asura….. or rather between the Good and the Evil. Finally Good prevailed and over powered the evil.
This episode is narrated during Durgapuja, with various idols. Devi Durga is seen riding a Lion, her carrier. She is accompanied by her four children…. Laxmi – the Goddess of Wealth; Saraswathi – the Goddess of Learning; Ganesha – the God of Business and Kartika – the God of Chivalry and Courage. Asura is seen here getting defeated in his Buffalo image. This idols are quite big in sizes and very colourful and artistically made.
The celebration in fact starts with Mahalaya, about a week before the actual Durgapuja begins. It is a five-day festival, starting on Shosthi (meaning sixth day) and concludes on Doshomi ( meaning tenth day). From Shosthi Day till Nobomi (the Ninth Day), for four days, there are large number of people’s gathering…. through out the day and through out the night ! People go around the various Puja Celebration Place…. called “Puja Pandal”. There are several thousands such Puja Pandals, and, it is humanly possible to go and visit only a fraction of these. So people select to visit only the ones that they think are the best ones, in terms of innovative decorations and lightings arrangements.
There are three types of Puja events organised these days in Kolkata, and all over the state. The “Baroari” (literary meaning 12 friends) type. These are the community organised event….. most colourful and vibrant. There is Family Organised Puja…. some of the old aristocrat families still manage to put up a big show. These days there is also Housing Estate Puja – the multi-storied building residents organise their own puja.
Durgapuja is indeed a community event in Kolkata, and, for every one – irrespective of caste and creed , it is a show case of communal harmony. Children with colourful dresses and the adults too with their various new fashion wears the entire city glitters with joy ! The whole city is decorated with all kinds of coloured lights and colourful hoardings and banners.
For each day of the festival, there is a great lunch and dinner arranged in the homes. In some areas the community pujas or the Baroari arranges Community Meals.
Durgapuja is indeed a big thing in Kolkata, and, if you ever get a chance to be here, just grab it. In any case Kolkata is one of the most inexpensive cities on earth for food and stay.
AND NOW A BIT OF LIVE SHOWS ! JUST CLICK THE LINK BELOW TO HAVE A LITTLE LIVE SHOW OF SOME OF OUR LOCALITY PUJAS….. I WENT AROUND WITH MY GRAND DAUGHTER, AND WE COULD NOT GO AROUND AS WE COULD NOT WALK MUCH – SHE WAS TOO YOUNG TO WALK MUCH, AND I WAS NOT TOO YOUNG TO WALK MUCH