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West Bengal

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Durga Puja

The most important and the most popular of all Bengali festivals is the Durga puja. It is celebrated throughout the state, but with great grandeur inDurga Puja Festival in West Bengal Kolkata. There are some ancestral houses in Kolkata where Durga puja is being observed over decades and even over centuries.

Durga puja is celebrated in the autumn months of September/October. According to the Hindu solar calendar, it falls on the first nine days of the month of Ashvin. It is the time of the year when the weather is at its moderate best giving the air a festive touch. Images of the ten-armed goddess are worshipped in ancient houses and at pandals, erected specially for the Puja. After the four-day ceremony, the images are immersed in the river.

A festival of colour, pujas, a variety of foods to stir up the senses and of course the ubiquitous decorations, Dussehra (tenth day) is an important festival of Hindus. The entire country celebrates it with great zeal, though the pattern may differ a little from state to state.
The day celebrates the magnificence and omnipotence of Goddess Durga The legends say that the mighty demon Mahishasur, vanquished the gods and their king, Indra, who subsequently fled, leaving behind their kingdoms. They then approached the Holy Trinity, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, who decided to destroy the atrocious demon and prayed to the divine mother Durga to do the needful. Equipped with lethal weapons riding a ferocious lion the Goddess in all her awesome majesty, destroyed the evil Mahishasur easily.

West Bengal celebrates Dussehra as Durga Puja craftsmen make beautiful idols of Goddess Durga which are welcomed in the houses, as a daughter who has come to visit her parents' home. The Goddess is ' Shakti ' the cosmic energy which animates all beings. The idols of the Goddess are worshipped for nine days and on the ninth day, the idols are immersed in rivers or ponds. The procession accompanying the immersion include drummers and conch blowers.

The message of Durga Puja is to burn the evil within ourselves and follow the path of virtue and goodness. It reminds people to keep in mind the instance of Ravana, who was a great scholar and ardent devote of Lord Shiva, but despite all his might and majesty he was destroyed due to his gross misuse of power.

The festival that follows is Deepavali, the festival of lights. The worship of goddess Kali is marked by display of fireworks and crackers.


 
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