||This article needs additional citations for verification. (October 2011)|
Jagaddhatri Puja in Ramakrishna Mission TB Sanatorium, Ranchi
|Weapon||Chakram, Bow, Arrow|
In Hinduism, Jagaddhatri or Jagadhatri (Devnagri: जगद्धात्री, Bengali: জগদ্ধাত্রী, Oriya: ଜଗଦ୍ଧାତ୍ରୀ, 'the Protector of the World') is a form of Devi, the supreme goddess. Her worship is more common in West Bengal than the other parts of India. Her cult is directly derived from Tantra where she is a symbol of sattva beside Durga and Kali, respectably symbolized with Rajas and Tamas.
She is celebrated on Gosthastami. It is also referred to as another Durga Puja as it also starts on Asthami tithi and ends on Dashami tithi. The date of the puja is decided by the luni-solar Hindu calendar.
In Tantra and Purana, Jagaddhatri is depicted as being the colour of the morning sun, three-eyed and four-armed, holding Chakra, conch, bow and arrow, clothed in red, bright jewels and nagajangopaveeta, a symbol of Yoga and the Brahman. She rides a lion standing on the dead Karindrasura, the Elephant Demon. “Jagaddhatri arises in the heart of a person," said Sri Ramakrishna, “who can control the frantic elephant called mind.”
Though she is worshipped all over West Bengal and some places of Odisha, Jagaddhatri Puja in Chandannagar, Hoogly, Rishra, Tehatta, Krishnanagar, Nadia and Baripada, have a special socio-cultural celebration. In Kolkata, too, Jagaddhatri Puja is a major autumnal Hindu event after Durga Puja and Kali Puja. In Ramakrishna Mission, Jagaddhatri Puja was initiated by Sarada Devi, Sri Ramakrishna’s wife who was, according to popular Bengali belief, an avatar of Devi and observed in the centres of the Mission all over the world.
Generally, Jagaddhatri is referred as another name of Durga. In Sanskrit and Bengali, the word 'Jagaddhatri' literally means 'Holder (dhatri) of the World (Jagat)' . According to Sri Ramakrishna, “(Jagaddhatri) holds the World. If she wouldn’t, the World might fall down. This explanation can be applied for both Durga and Jagaddhatri. That is why in the hymns, the goddess is always referred as ‘Jagaddhatri Durga -
জয়দে জগদানন্দে জগদেকপ্রপূজিতে
Transliteration: jayade jagadanande jayadekaprapujite.
Translation: I hail Thee, o all-pervasive Jagaddhatri Durga, Thou art victorious and symbol of the joys of the world; it is only Thou in the world, who can be worshipped properly. Victory to Thee.
Like most of other Hindu deity, Jagaddhatri is also known as other names like Karindrasuranisudini (Slayer of the Elephant Demon), Maheswari (the Great Goddess), Shaktacharpriya (the Goddess who loves to be worshiped as according to the practices of the Sakta sect of Hinduism, or Shaktism), Adharabhuta (the Bearer of the World) etc.
Pauranik lore 
As per ancient Pauranik lore of the Hindu scriptures, soon after the victory over Mahishasur the Devatas became highly egoistic. They thought because of lending to Durga their instruments the mighty asuras were vanquished. To make them understand that the primordial power is alone behind every action, the Brahman appeared before the Devatas in the form of effulgent Yaksha.
Bewildered by its presence one by one the Devatas approached Yaksha. First the god of wind Vayu. The Yaksha asked him what he could do. The Vayu replied that he could throw away huge trees, tumble high mountains. The Yaksha then placed a small grass and asked him to move it. The Vayu utilised all his powers but lo! he could not even displace it. So also the god of fire Agni, could not even burn it. Likewise one by one the Devatas failed.
And it dawned on them that their powers are in reality not their own but derived from the supreme power who as protecting mother holds the entire creation and therefore called Jagaddhatri. Anybody who worships Jagaddhatri becomes absolutely egoless and a true servant of the world which is nothing but a manifestation of the Brahman.
In Bengal it is popularly believed that Maharaja Krishna Chandra of Nadia started Jagaddhatri Puja. However, it is not verified and cannot be correct as Chandannagar's Indranarayan Roy Choudhury's Jagadhatri Puja precedes the date when it was started by Maharaja Krishna Chandra in Krishnanagar. Jagadhatri Puja is very popular in Rishra, Chandannagar, Hooghly. Jagaddhatri puja has been celebrated in Howrah since 1713. The goddess is worshipped in Moktar Bari, Shibpur village under Udaynarayanpur PS. During Tarakdas Banerjea (Bandyopadhyay) the puja was very rich. According to folklore, the family used to worship Durga before it. After a holy dream, Jagaddhatri puja started instead of Durga Puja. Current structure was made in 1934. After the Puja, Raas[disambiguation needed] Utsav is also arranged in the house.
Jagaddhatri figures in the semi-historical fictional work 'Anandamath' written by Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, from which book the national song of India "Vande Mataram" is taken. In the novel, Kali, Durga and Jagaddhatri are depicted as three aspects of 'Bharat Mata' (Mother India) - Jagaddhatri as the mother used to be, Kali as the mother now is, Durga as the mother will be in future. The trio of goddesses are shown as the object of worship of a group of ascetics who form the protagonists of the story.
Jagadhatri Mela 
After Ratha Yatra, Jagadhatri Mela at Bhanjpur Jagadhatri Podia, is the biggest mela of Baripada, Odisha. It is the festival of Maa Jagadhatri, Goddess of the whole world. There is a 8–15 days mela(carnival) also known as mini Bali Jatra named after Cuttack's Bali Jatra which takes place at Jagadhatri Mela Podia, Bhanjpur, near the Bhanjpur railway Station during the month of October–November. It is celebrated on Gosthastami. It is also referred to as another Durga Puja as it also starts on Asthami tithi and ends on Dashami tithi. The date of the puja is decided by the luni-solar Hindu calendar.
This year(2012), the sarbajanina Maa Jagadhatri puja has been started from 21 November. But the mela will continue from 26 November to 7 December(first time it will be for such a long period of 13 days). This year the puja is celebrating its Diamond Jubilee as completing 60 years.
Every year its main attraction is its Puja Torana(Pendal) and the Mela. The Pendal is decorated as a famous monument like in 2011 it was a miniature of US Capitol Building, USA. This year, it is Lalitha Mahal, Mysore. From year 2000 it has been a tradition to decorate the torana as a special infrastructure. Tajmahal, Agra; Victoria Memorial (India), Kolkata; Titanic Ship; Lotus Temple, New Delhi; Golden Temple, Punjab etc. were also mimicked in the previous years since 2000 to 2006. As a tribute to 26/11 Hotel Taj Mahal Palace & Tower, Mumbai attack victims, the torana of year 2009 is a lookalike of that hotel. The pictures showing here are the toranas decorated from 2007 to 2012 as previous year's pictures are not available.
Further reading 
- McDermott, Rachel Fell (2011). Revelry, Rivalry, and Longing for the Goddesses of Bengal: The Fortunes of Hindu Festivals.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Jagaddhatri|
- Jagaddhatri Puja posted by Paromita
- The Mela ground where Jagadhatri Mela takes place every year
- "Jagadhatri mela kicks off with much fanfare" is the headline of e-news site webindia123.com as the famous Bhanjpur Jagadhatri Mela started on 21 Nov 2012