The sixth day of the Navaratri (9 nights) is celebrated as the starting of Durga Puja, the Maha Shasthi day. This is the day that marks the unveiling of the Durga idols in various Puja pandals along with the starting of the 5 day long worship of the Goddess of power, Ma Durga.
Bodhon or the invocation of the deity is done during the evening of Shasthi and as myth says, the deities thereafter comes alive. It was yesterday that we started with the Maha Shasthi puja. Just in Kolkata there are more than a thousand places where the goddess is worshipped in community pujas leave aside the ones worshipped at indivudual homes. My house too comes under one of the places where the goddess is worshipped for these 5 days.
Along with the goddess comes her four children – Laxmi, Ganesh, Saraswati and Karthik. They all are indivudually worshipped as Gods, but this time of the year they remain as the offspring of the Mother Goddess. In this platoon of Gods and Goddess the demon Mahishasur is also worshipped. As it is said, that when Durga killed the demon kind, Mahishashura he was booned by the Goddess and was promised to be worshipped along with her.
These thousands of pandals are decked gorgeously with lights and with various other decoration items. This time the only pandal I visited till now is the Babubagan Community Puja. There theme for this year is to get rid of the mechanical world and bring back the greenery. The pandal is made of worn out machine parts, while the idols signifying the almost lost Santhal community and their love for nature .
It was only Shasthi and there are four more days for the Puja. Stay tuned and will update you with more stories and photos from Kolkata Puja. Till then have a happy and safe Puja.
Don’t forget to have a copy of our Festive recipe e-book and the October calendar. And do send in your entries to the ongoing event Cooking with Seeds – Poppy, a brain child of Priya from Priya’s Easy and Tasty Recipes.