Durga Puja

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Durga Puja
Durga Puja 2015.JPG
Durga Puja, [d̪urɡa pudʒa], About this sound listen 
Also called Akaal Bodhan, Durgotsava (Bengali pronunciation: [d̪urɡot̪ʃɔb], About this sound Durgotsava ), Sharadotsav, Dussahara
Observed by Bengalis, Odias, Assamese and Biharis
Type Hindu
Celebrations Family and other social gatherings, shopping and gift-giving, feasting, pandal-visiting, lighting decorations, cultural dance, idol immersion etc.
Observances Ceremonial worship of goddess Durga, temple services
Begins Sixth day of Ashwin shukla paksha[1]
Seventh day of Ashwin shukla paksha (in Bihar)
Ends Tenth day of Ashwina shukla paksha[1]
2016 date 7 October – 11 October[2]
2017 date 26 September – 30 September
Frequency annual
Related to Mahalaya, Navratri, Dussehra
Durga idol prepared for Durga Puja.

Durga Puja, also called Durgotsava and Navaratri, is an annual Hindu festival in Indian subcontinent that reveres the goddess Durga.[3][4] It is observed in the Hindu calendar month of Ashvin, typically September or October of the Gregorian calendar.[5][6] A multi-day festival that features elaborate temple and stage decorations (pandals), scripture recitation, performance arts, revelry and processions, Durga Puja is particularly observed by Hindus in eastern and northeastern states of India, in Bangladesh and in Nepal where it is called Dashain.[3][7][8] It is a major festival in the Shaktism tradition of Hinduism across India and Shakta Hindu diaspora.[9][10][11]

Durga Puja festival marks the battle of goddess Durga with the shape-shifting, deceptive and powerful buffalo demon Mahishasura, and her emerging victorious.[12][13][note 1] Thus, the festival epitomises the victory of Good over Evil, but it also is in part a harvest festival that marks goddess as the motherly power behind all of life and creation.[15][16] The Durga Puja festival dates coincide with Vijayadashami (Dussehra) observed by other traditions of Hinduism, where the Ram Lila is enacted, victory of Rama is marked and effigies of demon Ravana are burnt instead.[17][18]

The primary goddess revered during Durga Puja is Durga, but her stage and celebrations feature other major deities of Hinduism such as goddess Lakshmi (goddess of wealth, prosperity), Saraswati (goddess of knowledge and music), Ganesha (god of good beginnings) and Kartikeya (god of war). The latter two are considered to be children of Durga (Parvati).[19] The Hindu god Shiva, as Durga's husband, is also revered during this festival. The festival begins on the first day with Mahalaya, marking Durga's advent in her battle against evil. Starting with the sixth day (Sasthi), the goddess is welcomed, festive Durga worship and celebrations begin in elaborately decorated temples and pandals hosting the statues.[4][6] Lakshmi and Saraswati are revered on the following days. The festival ends of the tenth day of Vijaya Dashami, when with drum beats of music and chants, Shakta Hindu communities start a procession carrying the colorful clay statues to a river or ocean and immerse them, as a form of goodbye and her return to divine cosmos and Mount Kailash.[4][6]

The festival is an old tradition of Hinduism, though it is unclear how and in which century the festival began. Surviving manuscripts from the 14th century provide guidelines for Durga puja, while historical records suggest royalty and wealthy families were sponsoring major Durga puja public festivities since at least the 16th century.[9] The prominence of Durga Puja increased during the British Raj in its provinces of Bengal and Assam.[20][4] Durga Puja has been a ten day festival,[21][3] of which the last five are typically special and an annual holiday in regions such as West Bengal and Tripura where it is particularly popular.[22][6] In the contemporary era, the importance of Durga Puja is as much as a social festival as a religious one wherever it is observed.[4]


In Bengal, Assam, Odisha, Durga Puja is also called Akalbodhan(অকাল বোধন) ("untimely awakening of Durga"), Sharadiya Pujo ("autumnal worship"), Sharodotsab (Bengali: শারদোৎসব ("festival of autumn")), Maha Pujo ("grand puja"), Maayer Pujo ("worship of the Mother"), Durga Pujo, or merely as Puja or Pujo. In Bangladesh, Durga Puja used to be celebrated as Bhagabati Puja. It is also called Durga Puja in West Bengal, Bihar, Assam, Odisha, Delhi and Madhya Pradesh.[23]

Durga Puja is also called Navaratri Puja elsewhere in India,[4] such as in Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Kerala, and Maharashtra,[24] Kullu Dussehra in Kullu Valley, Himachal Pradesh,[25] Mysore Dussehra in Mysore, Karnataka,[26] Bommai Golu in Tamil Nadu and Bommala koluvu in Andhra Pradesh.[27]


Further information: Durga

Durga is an ancient deity of Hinduism, according to archeological and textual evidence available. However, the origins of Durga puja are unclear and undocumented. Surviving manuscripts from the 14th century provide guidelines for Durga puja, while historical records suggest royalty and wealthy families were sponsoring major Durga puja public festivities since at least the 16th century.[9] The 11th or 12th century Jainism text Yasatilaka by Somadeva mentions a festival and annual dates dedicated to a warrior goddess, celebrated by the king and his armed forces, and the description mirrors attributes of a Durga puja.[5]

The word Durga, and related terms appear in the Vedic literature, such as in the Rigveda hymns 4.28, 5.34, 8.27, 8.47, 8.93 and 10.127, and in sections 10.1 and 12.4 of the Atharvaveda.[28][29][note 2] A deity named Durgi appears in section 10.1.7 of the Taittiriya Aranyaka.[28] While the Vedic literature uses the word Durga, the description therein lacks the legendary details about her or about Durga puja that is found in later Hindu literature.[31]

The Dadhimati Mata Temple of Rajasthan preserves a Durga-related inscription from chapter 10 of Devi Mahatmya. The temple inscription has been dated by modern methods to 608 CE.[32][33]

A key text associated with Durga puja observations is Devi Mahatmya, which is recited during the festival. Durga was likely well established before the time this Hindu text was composed, which scholars variously estimate to between 400 to 600 CE.[34][35][36] The Devi Mahatmya mythology describes the nature of demonic forces symbolized by Mahishasura as shape-shifting, deceptive and adapting in nature, in form and in strategy to create difficulties and achieve their evil ends. Durga calmly understands and counters the evil in order to achieve her solemn goals.[12][13][note 3]

Durga, in her various forms, appears as an independent deity in the Epics period of ancient India, that is the centuries around the start of the common era.[37] Both Yudhisthira and Arjuna characters of the Mahabharata invoke hymns to Durga.[38] She appears in Harivamsa in the form of Vishnu's eulogy, and in Pradyumna prayer. The prominent mention of Durga in this popular epics may have led to her worship.[39][5][40]

The Indian texts that mention the Durga Puja festival are inconsistent. The King Suratha legend found in some version of the Puranas mention it to be a spring festival, while the Devi-Bhagavata Purana and two other Shakta Puranas mention it to be an autumn festival. The more ancient Ramayana manuscripts are also inconsistent. Versions of Ramayana found in North, West and South India describe the Hindu god Rama to be remembering the Surya (the Sun god) before his battle with the demon Ravana, but the Bengali manuscripts of Ramayana such as by the 15th century Krttivasa describe Rama to be worshipping Durga.[41]

According to Pranab Bandyopadhyay, the worship of fierce warrior goddess Durga, and her darker and more violent manifestation Kali, became very popular in Bengal region during and after the medieval era Muslim invasion.[42] The significance of Durga and other goddesses in Hindu culture, states Patricia Monaghan, increased after Islamic armies conquered Indian subcontinent and attempted to deny iconographic representation of its male and female "idols".[43] According to Rachel McDermott, and other scholars such as Brijen Gupta, the persecution of Bengali Hindus in Bengal Sultanate and late medieval era religious politics led to a revival of Hindu identity and an emphasis on Durga Puja as a social festival that publicly celebrated the warrior goddess.[44]

From the medieval period up through present day, the Durga puja has celebrated the goddess with performance arts and as a social event, while maintaining the religious worship.[45]


Durga puja deity images

The Durga Puja festival is a ten day event, of which the last five mark the popular practices. The festival begins with Mahalaya, a day where Shakta Hindus remember the loved ones who have died, as well the advent of Durga.[4][6] The next most significant day of Durga Puja celebrations is the sixth day, called Shashthi where the local community welcome the goddess and festive celebrations are inaugurated. On the seventh day (Saptami), eighth (Ashtami) and ninth (Navami), the goddess along with Lakshmi, Saraswati, Ganesha and Kartikeya are revered and these days mark the main Puja (worship) with recitation of the scriptures, the legends of Durga in Devi Mahatmya and social visits by families to elaborately decorated and lighted up temples and pandals (theatre like stages).[46][47][48]

Durga Puja as a harvest festival

Om you are rice [wheat...],
Om you are life,
you are the life of the gods,
you are our life,
your are our internal life,
you are long life,
you give life,
Om the Sun with his rays (....)

— Hymn to start the Durga Puja,
Translator: David Kinsley[15]

The Durga festival is, in part, a post-monsoon harvest festival observed on the same days in Shaktism tradition of Hinduism, as those in its other traditions.[49][50] The practice of including a bundle of nine different plants, called navapattrika, as nature's symbolism of Durga, is a testament practice to its agricultural importance.[15] The typically selected plants include not only representative important crops, but also non-crops. According to David Kinsley, a professor of Religious Studies specializing on Hindu goddesses, this probably signifies the Hindu belief that the goddess is "not merely the power inherent in the growth of crops but the power inherent in all vegetation".[15]

The festival is a major social and public event in eastern and northeastern states of India, where it dominates the religious life, with temporary stage (pandal) built in community squares, roadside shrines and large Durga temples. However, it is also observed by some Shakta Hindus as a private, home-based festival.[51]

The festival opens at twilight with prayers to Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of knowledge, wisdom, music, poetry, independent thought, inner knowing and creativity.[52] She is believed to be another aspect of the same one multidimensional goddess Devi Durga, and who is the external and internal activity of all existence, in everything and everywhere. This is typically also the day that the eyes of all deities on the Durga Puja stage are painted, bringing them to a life like appearance.[52][53] The day also marks prayers to Ganesha and visit to one or more Durga temples.[54]

The day two to five continue the remembrance and preparation to other aspects (manifestations) of goddess Durga, such as Kumari (goddess of fertility), Mai (mother), Ajima (grandmother), Lakshmi (goddess of wealth) and in some regions of the Saptamatrikas (seven mothers) or Navadurga (nine aspects of Durga).[55][8][56]

The sixth day launches the major festivities and social celebrations. It is called Sasthi (literally, sixth), the goddess is welcomed, festive Durga worship and celebrations begin in elaborately decorated temples and pandals hosting the statues.[4][6] The first nine days overlap with Navaratri festivities in other traditions of Hinduism.[57][18]

The puja rituals are long and complicated. Three days of Mantras (words for spiritual transformation), Shlokas (verse) chants and Arati (prayer) and offerings are made, which include Vedic chants and multiple recitations of the Devi Mahatmya text in Sanskrit.[48] Durga Slokas (which is also known as Devi Mantra)[58] praises Durga as symbol of all divine forces. According to the sloka, Durga is omnipresent as the embodiment of power, nourishment, memory, forbearance, faith, forgiveness, intellect, wealth, emotions, desires, beauty, satisfaction, righteousness, fulfillment and peace.[59][note 4] The specific practices vary by region.[63] The following being most common:

  • Preliminaries: the preparations before the actual Durga puja begins.[64]
  • Bodhana: the rites to awaken and welcome the goddess to be a guest, typically done on the sixth day of the festival.[65]
  • Adhivasa: anointing ritual wherein many symbolic offerings are made to Durga, where each item represents a remembrance of subtle forms of her. Typically completed on the sixth day as well.[66]
  • Saptami: bathing of the goddess, selection of the priest, elaborate prayers (arati), recitation of texts describing Durga heading to war against evil, the ululu ritual (group meditation and scream-like crying at high points by women), done on the seventh day of the festival.[67]
  • Mahastami: similar to Saptami, more prayers, recitation and enactment of Durga legends and scriptures on the eighth day. The day is significant because the moment when it ends and ninth day begins is considered the moment Durga kills the buffalo demon, the good once again emerges victorious over evil.[68]
Aarti dance on Mahanavami, Durga Puja in Bangalore (2009)
  • Sandhi Puja: a forty eight minute high point that celebrates the climax of war which goddess Durga was engaged in. In some regions, devotees sacrifice an animal such as a buffalo or goat, but in many regions there isn't an actual animal sacrifice and a symbolic remembrance substitutes it. The surrogate effigy is smeared in red vermilion to symbolize the blood spilled.[69] The goddess is then offered food (bhog) by women, and afterwards everyone eats. Major sites celebrating Durga Puja engage in a sixteen part devotional service. The community begins merry making, music, dancing and women playfully smear the faces of their companions with sindoor (vermilion), all as a mark of the victory of good over evil.[70]
  • Mahanavami: the ninth day of festival observes rites similar to Saptami, with the difference that the celebration is after Durga's victory and Vedic style homa (fire oblation) rituals are now included. The other deities on the stage, such as Ganesha, Kartikeya, Lakshmi and Saraswati are remembered and prayers offered to them.[71]
Playful smearing of vermilion on Vijaya Dasami of Durga Puja, West Bengal
  • Vijaya Dasami: the tenth and last day, marked by a great procession where the clay statues are ceremoniously walked to a river or ocean coast for a solemn goodbye to Durga. Many mark their faces with vermilion (sindoor) or dress in something red. It is an emotional day for some devotees, and the congregation sings emotional goodbye songs.[72][73] When the procession reaches the water, Durga is immersed, the clay dissolves, and she is believed to return to Mount Kailasha with Shiva and cosmos in general. People distribute sweets and gifts, visit their friends and family members.[74] Some communities such as those near Varanasi mark the eleventh day, called ekadashi, by visiting a Durga temple.[75]

Drummers called dhakis, carrying large leather-strung dhak create music, people dance and complete the final day of worship called aarati. On the tenth day, the clay Durga image is carried in great procession, with music and dancing, to a river or to ocean, where she is immersed as a goodbye and her return to Mount Kailasha and the cosmos.[4][18][76]

Decorations: sculptures and stages[edit]

Durga puja decorations

The entire process of creation of the sculptures (murti) from the collection of clay to the ornamentation is a ceremonial process. Though the festival is observed post monsoon harvest, the artisans begin making the statues months before, during the summer. The process begins with prayer to Ganesha and to the materials such as bamboo frames in which the statue are cast.[77]

Clay, or local soil collected from different parts of the region, forms the base. This choice is a religious tradition wherein Durga, as the creative energy and material, is believed to be present everywhere and everything in the universe.[77] In Kolkata, one custom is to include soil samples, in the clay mixture for Durga, from areas locals believe to be nishiddho pallis (forbidden territories, brothels).[78]

The clay base is combined with straw, kneaded then molded into cast made from bamboo. This is set like any clay pot, layered to a final shape, cleaned, and polished when ready. A layer of vegetable fiber called jute, mixed in with clay, is attached to the top to prevent the statue from cracking in the months ahead. The heads of the statues are more complex, and usually cast separately.[77] The limbs of the statues are mostly shaped from bundles of straws.[77] Then, starting about August, the local artisans hand-paint the statues of Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswati, Ganesha, Kartikeya, the lion and the buffalo demon. The goddesses are dressed in fine silk saris, shown bejeweled and put into a pandal.[77][79]

The procedures and proportions of statue (pratima or murti) are described in arts-related Sanskrit text of Hinduism, such as the Vishvakarma sastra.[80]

Environmental impact[edit]

The traditional idols, states Christopher Chapple, are made of biodegradable materials such as "straw, clay, resin, and wood".[81] In the contemporary era, brighter colored statues have increased and diversified the use of non-biodegradable, cheaper or more colorful substitute synthetic raw materials. Environmental activists have raised concerns about the paint used to produce the statue, stating that the heavy metals in these paints pollute rivers when the statues are immersed at the end of the Durga festival.[81]

Brighter colors that are also biodegradable and eco-friendly, as well as the historic tradition-based natural colors are typically more expensive.[82] The state of West Bengal has banned the use of hazardous paints, and local Indian governments have started distributing lead-free paints to artisans at no cost to prevent heavy metal pollution.[83]

Animal sacrifice, symbolic sacrifice[edit]

Further information: Shaktism and Animal sacrifice in Hinduism

Shakta Hindu communities mark the slaying of buffalo demon and victory of Durga with a symbolic or actual sacrifice. Most communities prefer symbolic sacrifice, where a statue of asura demon made of flour, or equivalent, is immolated and smeared with vermilion to remember the blood that had necessarily been spilled during the war.[69][84] Other substitutes include a vegetal or sweet dish considered equivalent to the animal.[85] In many cases, Shaktism devotees consider animal sacrifice distasteful, practice alternate means of expressing devotion while respecting the views of others in their tradition.[86]

A male buffalo calf about to be sacrificed in the Durga Puja festival.

In other communities, an actual animal is sacrificed, mainly at temples of Goddess such as Bhavani or Kali.[87] In Nepal, West Bengal, Odisha and Assam, animal sacrifices are performed at Shakti temples, to mark the legend[88] of goddess Durga slaying the buffalo demon. This involves slaying of a goat, chicken or a male water buffalo. This practice is rare among Hindus, outside this region.[89]

The Rajput of Rajasthan worship their weapons and horses on Navaratri, and formerly offered a sacrifice of a goat to the goddess – a practice that continues in some places.[90][91] The ritual requires slaying of the animal with a single stroke. In the past this ritual was considered a rite of passage into manhood and readiness as a warrior. The ritual is directed by a priest.[92] The Kuldevi among these Rajput communities is a warrior-pativrata guardian goddess, with local legends tracing reverence for her during Rajput-Muslim wars.[93]

Theme-based pujas and pandals[edit]

Two Durga Puja theme-based pandals in Kolkata

Months before the start of Durga puja, youth members of a community organize as a team, collect donations, engage priests and artisans, buy votive materials and help build a theme-based stage called pandal. The Durga statue is designed from clay and colors by the commissioned artisans. The design and decoration is a team effort involving artists, architects and community representatives hosting it. The budget required for such theme-based pujas is significantly higher than traditional pujas. These attract crowds of visitors. The preparations and the building of pandals are a significant arts-related economic activity, often attracting major sponsors.[94]

The growth of competitiveness in theme pandals have escalated costs and scale of Durga Puja in eastern states of India. Some communities question the billboards, the economic competition behind the Durga Puja between communities, and seek return to basics.[95] The competition takes many forms, such as the height of statue. In 2015, a 88 foot statue of Durga attracted numerous devotees, with some estimates placing visitors at one million.[96][97]

Media attention[edit]

Durga puja mood starts off with the Mahishasuramardini – a two-hour radio programme that has been popular with the community since the 1950s.[98] While earlier it used to be conducted live, later a recorded version began to be broadcast. Bengalis traditionally wake up at 4 in the morning on Mahalaya day to listen to the enchanting voice of the late Birendra Krishna Bhadra and the late Pankaj Kumar Mullick on All India Radio as they recite hymns from the scriptures from the Devi Mahatmyam (Chandi Path).[99]

TV and radio channels telecast Puja celebrations. Many Bengali/Assamese channels devote whole days to the Pujas. Bengali and Oriya weekly magazines bring out special issues for the Puja known as "Pujabarshiki" or "Sharadiya Sankhya". These contain the works of many writers both established and upcoming and are thus much bigger than the regular issues. Some notable examples are Anandamela, Shuktara, Desh, Sarodiya Anandabazar Patrika, Sananda, Nabakallol, Bartaman[100] All major local news publications are closed on the last day of the festivities.

Regional variations[edit]


Main article: Durga Puja in Odisha

The Durga Puja is celebrated in two different ways in Odisha. In Shakti peethas (temples of goddess) the Durga Puja is observed with proper rituals for 16 days known as Shodasa/Shohala dinatmaka, which starts from 7 days earlier to mahalaya called as Mulastami(The ashtami with Ardra nakshatra) and ends on Vijayadashami, dussehra. Goddess Durga is also worshipped by devotees in different pandals across the state. The pandals are decorated with beautiful decorative.

West Bengal[edit]

The pujas are held over a five-day period, which is traditionally viewed as the coming of the married daughter, Durga, to her father, Himalaya's home. It is the most important festival in Bengal, and Bengalis, both devout Hindus and secular persons, celebrate with new clothes and other gifts, which are worn on the evenings when the family goes out to see the 'pandals' (temporary structures set up to venerate the goddess). Although it is a Hindu festival, religion takes a back seat on these five days: Durga Puja in Bengal is also a secular carnival, where people from all backgrounds, regardless of their religious beliefs, participate and enjoy themselves to the hilt.[101]


Durga Idol in Kolkata (2016).

Durga Puja is the most glamourous, most popular and largest festival in Kolkata. No other Indian city celebrates Durga Puja as enthusiastically as Kolkata. In Kolkata and its suburbs more than 4500 pandals are erected, all clamouring for the admiration and praise of the populace.[102] The city is adorned with lights and the vibrant nightlife is the most exciting thing to experience during the Puja. Streets, alleys, parks, houses and trees glitter with fairy lights. Popular movie songs as well as traditional music such as Rabindra Sangeet, 'Chandipath' are played on loudspeakers. Fairs are set up in numerous parks and public spaces, complete with merry-go-rounds, giant wheels and stalls.

People from all over the country visit the city at this time, and every night is one mad carnival where thousands of people go 'pandal-hopping' with their friends, relatives and family. Thousands of temporary food-stalls which cater to massive crowds are installed on pavements and roadsides. Traffic comes to a standstill, and indeed, most people abandon their vehicles to travel by foot after a point. A special task force is deployed by Kolkata Police to control law and order. Both Kolkata Municipal Corporation and Government of West Bengal announce special awards for best pujas. Most of the clubs, housing apartments and old zamindar houses organise various cultural and entertainment programmes on the evenings. Many people also come out to join adda at their neighbourhood pandals and festivities continue late into the night. Durga Puja in Kolkata is often referred to as the "Rio Carnival of the Eastern Hemisphere".[103] All throughout Kolkata, or rather, West Bengal, on the last day of Vijaya Dashami, people take earthen lamps called dhunachi which have lighted coconut husks in them and dance the traditional dhunuchi naachh in front of the goddess according to the ceremonial drumbeats(dhak). Married women smear each other with red vermillion powder, which is known as 'sindoor-khela' while exchanges of Bijoya greetings and sweets take place. Then the effigies are paraded through the streets amidst riotous pageantry before being dumped into the rivers.

A Durga Puja procession painting from about 1800.

Chanduli, Katwa[edit]

One of oldest Durga Puja is held at a village named Chanduli, 12 km from Katwa city, which is more than 350 years old. The Puja is held under the auspices of Mitra bari Debottor estate and here Goddess Durga has two hands visible in place of ten hands. Here, Devi Durga is glorious and famous in this locality. Guptipara

In 1790 First Barwary puja held in this village of West Bengal in the district of Hooghly.[104] Great Goswami family of Dhaka is now at Guptipara led by Satyendra Nath Goswami, Roypara.


Durga Puja is the main festival of Hindus in the Bengali dominated Barak Valley of Assam, where Silchar is the main city. In Silchar more than 300 exhibits, known as pandals, decorated with lights, sculptures and other art forms are created. It is said that Durga Puja started in the valley during the rule of Dimasa king Suradarpa Narayan. The festival is popular in other areas of Assam too where ethnic Hindu Bengalis reside.


A Durga Puja Pandal at Patna, Bihar

Durga Puja is one of the major festivals in Bihar. Bhagvati Durga Puja and Nou-Durga along with Vijaya Dashami is an important festival of the Maithili Community. Hundreds of pandals are set up with carnivals. The city witnesses a huge surge in visitors in the four days from Maha Saptami up to Vijaya Dashami. More than 1000 exhibits, known as pandals, are set up across the city. Ancient Places of Patna Durga Puja includes Bari and Chhoti Patan Devi, Maa Shitla Mandir Agamkuan etc. Some of the popular puja pandals include New Dak Bungalow Road, Shiv Mandir Khajpura, Shri Krishna Puri, Durga Ashram etc.[105]


All Durga temples are full of people, new trains are scheduled during this season. In Hindu Calaendar, Maha Navratri is celebrated on 1st to 9th day of Ashwin Month.


After Diwali, Navaratri is the largest Hindu festival celebrated in Gujarat. The festival is devoted to the Goddess Amba mataji. In homes and temples, images of goddess Amba are worshiped in accordance with rituals. Temples dedicated to the Goddess have a constant stream of visitors from morning to night during this period. The most common form of public celebration is the nightly performance of Garba and Dandia Ras throughout the nights of these nine days in public squares, open grounds, streets, private venues and people's homes and courtyards.[106]


pandal in ranchi

Durga Puja is celebrated with many carnivals. The festival mood starts from Mahalaya, a huge surge in visitors is witnessed during the last four days of the festival, arriving from cities like Jamshedpur (TATA), Ranchi, Hazaribag, Bokaro, Dhanbad, Sisai, etc. After offering puja, thousands of people set out in the evening to have a darshan of pandals. There are also many melas having different stalls, games, etc.


Durga Puja is celebrated in a grand way in this state. In Mysore, Dussehra is easily the most popular festival. Elephants are deckedup with robes and jewellery and taken in processions through the streets of the city. Many people visit Mysore from all over the country to watch this colourful event. There is a floating festival in the temple tank at the foot of Chamundi Hill and a procession of chariots around the temple at the top.

Mysore is named after Mahishasur, the very demon who was slain by the Goddess. The original Indian name was Mahishur. There is a gigantic statue of him on top of the Chamundi hills which is said to be the place where the demon was slain by the Great Goddess.

In recent years due to IT jobs Bengali population has drastically increased in Bangalore. Approximately 4 lakh Bengali people live in Bangalore and over 33[107] places Durga Puja has been organized.[108] The Kanakpura Road Bengali Association (KARBA), The Sarjapur Outer Ring Road Bengali Association[109] organises puja as grand celebration. The oldest of these celebrations remains the Bengali Association Puja at Ulsoor, Bangalore. Durga Pujas in Bangalore is a Sarvajanin program, indicating is open to all. The celebrations include worship, competitions, cultural program, food and adda. Many famous Bangla bands visit these puja associations each year. These pandals also attract variety of food stalls and shopping stalls at the puja fair.


In Kerala, Durga Puja signifies the beginning of formal education for every child aged 3–5 years. While puja goes on in the temple for all ten days, it is the concluding three days which are most important. Ashtami is the day of Ayudya Puja, when all the tools at home are worshipped. Custom dictates that no tools be used on this day. On navami day, Goddess Saraswati is honoured by worshipping the books and records at home.[110]

Maharashtra and Goa[edit]

Nashik boasts of four major ones celebrated by "prabashi" Bengalis' – like the ones at the Government of India Press grounds organised by Nashik Sarbojanin Durga Puja Committee which is the oldest and biggest, the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (H.A.L)in Ojhar, then the one at Artillery Station,Deolali and one in the industrial area of Satpur-Ambad. In recent years, places such as CIDCO, Rajeevnagar, Panchavati and Mahatmanagar also have set up new mandals.[111]


Durga Puja in New Delhi, 2008

In 1910, a year before Delhi was declared the capital of British India, the first Sarbojanin (community) puja in Delhi was organised near Kashmiri Gate by a group of expatriate Bengalis, including the doctor Hemchandra Sen. This group became the Delhi Durga Puja Samiti, popularly known as the "Kashmere Gate Puja".[112] The Timarpur puja (near Delhi University) started in 1914.[113] The pujas at Minto Road and Mata Sundari Road started shortly thereafter. By the 1970s, 40 pujas were being held in Delhi[114]

Today, over 800 pujas are held in Delhi, with a few hundred more in Gurgaon and Noida each.[115] By the 1970s, 40 pujas were being celebrated in Delhi, with many theatre troupes performing. Bengali movies would be screened late into the night at many pandals.[114] Today movies have given way to cultural functions, with many of the top kolkata music artistes and other cultural shows being hosted at various delhi pandals. Chittaranjan Park has the highest density of pujas, with nine large 'Sarbojanin' pujas and several family celebrations, and the pandals reflect many Kolkata trends.


Durga Puja is Celebrated in the state of Tripura with all its pride and glory. In India Durga Puja is the second biggest celebrated in this state and also the biggest celebrated festival to the people of Tripura. Particularly, in the Capital city of Agartala.

Other countries[edit]


Durga Puja is celebrated by the Indian and Bangladesh's Bengali Hindu diaspora residing in different parts of the world. It is also celebrated in regions and by people culturally and historically distinct from India.

China and Hong Kong[edit]

In the recent past, Durga Puja celebrations and festivities were also started in Hong Kong by the Bengali diaspora residing there and the festival is now fast gaining momentum and popularity even in Hong Kong.[116][117]


Main article: Dashain

Durga Puja in Nepal is called Dashain.[3][7] It is the longest festival in Nepal, also celebrated by Nepalese diaspora. It is observed over 15 days, of which the most important days are the first, seventh, eighth, ninth and the tenth.[118] Throughout the country Shakti is worshiped in all her manifestations. This festival is also known for its emphasis on the family gatherings, as well as on a renewal of community ties.[118] It is a public holiday. People return from all parts of the world, as well as different parts of the country, to celebrate it together.[118]

United States[edit]

Durga Puja is organised by some Indian American communities in the United States. Some of the notable pujas are: Houston Durga Bari, Kallol, Garden State Puja Committee (GSPC),[119] Plainfield;[120] Bharat Sevasram and Ananda Mandir in New Jersey; Prabasi in the San Francisco Bay Area,[121] Antorik in Dallas.[122] Some of these pujos attract over a thousand people.


Durga Puja is organised by Bengali communities in Europe. Although pandals are not constructed, the sculptures are imported from India. According to BBC News, for community celebrations in London in 2006, these "idols, belonging to a tableau measuring 18ft by 20ft, were made from clay, straw and vegetable dyes". At the end of the Durga Puja, these were immersed in River Thames, for the first time in 2006, after "the community was allowed to give a traditional send-off to the deities by London's port authorities". The Bengali community stated, per the BBC News report, that the immersion ceremony "is a very sentimental issue for us, everybody wanted to see the idols being given a proper immersion".[123]

In Switzerland, the 'Swisspuja'[124] group based in Baden, Aargau, in northern Switzerland, has been celebrating Durga Puja since 2003. Currently, the five-day long festival is celebrated at Langnau am Albis, Zurich. There is a Durga Puja organised by the Centre Vedantique in Geneva as well.

South East Asia[edit]

In Malaysia and Singapore, the Malaysian Bengalee Association and the Bengali Association of Singapore celebrate Durga Puja with Bhog distribution and Anjali along with cultural programs every year.[125]

Movies and gallery[edit]

  • Satyajit Ray's film Joi Baba Felunath is centred on Durga Puja; his movie Nayak has a Durga Puja reference.[126]
  • Rituporno Ghosh's Hirer Angti, Utsab and Antarmahal all are centered on Durga Puja.
  • The Hindi Devdas interweaves the celebration of Durga Puja into its story line.
  • The film Kahaani is centred on Durga Puja and plays a prominent role in the unfolding of events.
  • The film Dashami is also centered around Durga puja.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ In the Shakta tradition of Hinduism, many of the stories about obstacles and battles have been considered as metaphors for the divine and demonic within each human being, with liberation being the state of self-understanding whereby a virtuous nature and society emerging victorious over the vicious.[14]
  2. ^ It appears in Khila (appendix, supplementary) text to Rigveda 10.127, 4th Adhyaya, per J. Scheftelowitz.[30]
  3. ^ In the Shakta tradition of Hinduism, many of the stories about obstacles and battles have been considered as metaphors for the divine and demonic within each human being, with liberation being the state of self-understanding whereby a virtuous nature and society emerging victorious over the vicious.[14]
  4. ^ Various versions of Devi mantra exist.[60] Examples include: [a] "We know the Great Goddess. We make a meditation of the goddess Durga. May that Goddess guide us on the right path. (Durga Gayatri Mantra, recited at many stages of Durga puja);[61] [b] Hrim! O blessed goddess Durga, come here, stay here, stay here, take up residence here, accept my worship. (Durga Avahana Mantra);[62] etc.


  1. ^ a b "Durga Puja Tithi and Timing". Retrieved 17 July 2012. 
  2. ^ Durga Puja Calendar. durga-puja.org
  3. ^ a b c d James G. Lochtefeld 2002, p. 208.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Cynthia Bradley 2012, p. 214.
  5. ^ a b c David Kinsley 1988, pp. 106-108.
  6. ^ a b c d e f Encyclopedia Britannica 2015.
  7. ^ a b J. Gordon Melton (2011). Religious Celebrations: An Encyclopedia of Holidays, Festivals, Solemn Observances, and Spiritual Commemorations. ABC-CLIO. pp. 239–241. ISBN 978-1-59884-206-7. 
  8. ^ a b Laura Amazzone 2011, pp. 82-83.
  9. ^ a b c Rachel Fell McDermott 2001, pp. 172-174.
  10. ^ Lynn Foulston & Stuart Abbott 2009, pp. 162-169.
  11. ^ Hillary Rodrigues 2003, pp. 7-8.
  12. ^ a b Alain Daniélou 1991, p. 288.
  13. ^ a b June McDaniel 2004, pp. 215-219.
  14. ^ a b June McDaniel 2004, pp. 20-21, 217-219.
  15. ^ a b c d David Kinsley 1988, pp. 111-112.
  16. ^ Henrike Donner (2016). Domestic Goddesses: Maternity, Globalization and Middle-class Identity in Contemporary India. Routledge. p. 25. ISBN 978-1-317-14848-7. 
  17. ^ James G. Lochtefeld 2002, pp. 212-213.
  18. ^ a b c Constance Jones & James D. Ryan 2006, pp. 308-309.
  19. ^ Kinsley, David (1988). Hindu Goddesses: Vision of the Divine Feminine in the Hindu Religious Traditions. University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-06339-2. p. 95.
  20. ^ "Durga Puja". 
  21. ^ Wendy Doniger 1999, p. 306.
  22. ^ Parmita Borah (2 October 2011). "Durga Puja – a Celebration of Female Supremacy". EF News International. Archived from the original on 25 April 2012. Retrieved 26 October 2011. 
  23. ^ "Durga-puja.org". Durga-puja.org. 2012-10-06. Retrieved 2013-06-25. 
  24. ^ Navratri Puja, Durga-puja.org
  25. ^ Kullu Dussehra, Durga-puja.org
  26. ^ Mysore Dussehra, Durga-puja.org
  27. ^ "Bommai-kolu", Durga-puja.org
  28. ^ a b Monier Monier Williams (1899), Sanskrit English Dictionary with Etymology, Oxford University Press, page 487
  29. ^ Maurice Bloomfield (1906), A Vedic concordance, Series editor: Charles Lanman, Harvard University Press, page 486;
    Example Sanskrit original: "अहन्निन्द्रो अदहदग्निरिन्दो पुरा दस्यून्मध्यंदिनादभीके । दुर्गे दुरोणे क्रत्वा न यातां पुरू सहस्रा शर्वा नि बर्हीत् ॥३॥ – Rigveda 4.28.8, Wikisource
  30. ^ J. Scheftelowitz (1906). Indische Forschungen. Verlag von M & H Marcus. pp. 112 line 13a. 
  31. ^ David Kinsley 1988, pp. 95-96.
  32. ^ Rocher 1986, pp. 191-195.
  33. ^ Lawrence A. Babb; John E. Cort; Michael W. Meister (2008). Desert Temples: Sacred Centers of Rajasthan in Historical, Art-historical, and Social Context. Brill. pp. 8, 65–68, 86–89. ISBN 978-81-316-0106-8. 
  34. ^ Cheever Mackenzie Brown 1998, p. 77 note 28.
  35. ^ Coburn 1991, pp. 13.
  36. ^ Coburn 2002, pp. 1-7.
  37. ^ Rachel Fell McDermott 2001, p. 162.
  38. ^ Rachel Fell McDermott 2001, pp. 162-163.
  39. ^ Rachel Fell McDermott 2001, pp. 162-164.
  40. ^ David Kinsley 1997, pp. 16-22, 30-35.
  41. ^ C. Mackenzie Brown 1990, pp. 280 note 50, 274 notes 103, 107, 109-110.
  42. ^ Pranab Bandyopadhyay (1993). Mother Goddess Kali. UW Press. p. 118. ISBN 978-81-85328-15-7. 
  43. ^ Patricia Monaghan 2009, pp. 151–153.
  44. ^ Rachel Fell McDermott 2001, p. 330 notes 98-103.
  45. ^ Tithi Bhattacharya (November 2007). "Tracking the Goddess: Religion, Community, and Identity in the Durga Puja Ceremonies of Nineteenth-Century Calcutta". The Journal of Asian Studies. 66 (4): 919–962. 
  46. ^ David R. Kinsley 1989, pp. 19-25.
  47. ^ David Kinsley 1988, pp. 106-115.
  48. ^ a b Pratapacandra Ghosa (1871). Durga Puja: with notes and illustrations. Calcutta: Hindoo Patriot Press. pp. 40–55. 
  49. ^ Amazzone 2012, pp. 55-59.
  50. ^ David Kinsley 1988, p. 111, Quote: "Durga puja is celebrated from the first through the ninth days of the bright half of the lunar month of Asvin, which coincides with the autumn harvest in North India, and in certain respects it is clear that Durga puja is a harvest festival in which Durga is propitiated as the power of plant fertility"..
  51. ^ Malcolm McLean 1998, p. 137.
  52. ^ a b Amazzone 2012, pp. 57-59, 63, 66.
  53. ^ Charles Russell Coulter & Patricia Turner 2013, pp. 148, 158-159, 256-257, 301.
  54. ^ Amazzone 2012, pp. 58-60.
  55. ^ Amazzone 2012, pp. 69-70, 83-84, 95-97, 115-117, 184.
  56. ^ June McDaniel 2004, pp. 209-210.
  57. ^ Robert S. Ellwood & Gregory D. Alles 2007, p. 126.
  58. ^ "Introduction to Devi Mantra". indif.com. Retrieved 6 March 2012. 
  59. ^ Hillary Rodrigues 2003, pp. 50, 150-151.
  60. ^ C. Mackenzie Brown 1990, pp. 143-147.
  61. ^ Hillary Rodrigues 2003, pp. 153-155, 63, 90, 177 etc.
  62. ^ Hillary Rodrigues 2003, p. 113.
  63. ^ Hillary Rodrigues 2003, pp. 17-24, 31-39.
  64. ^ Hillary Rodrigues 2003, pp. 71-74.
  65. ^ Hillary Rodrigues 2003, pp. 38-44, 84-87.
  66. ^ Hillary Rodrigues 2003, pp. 44-45, 120-127.
  67. ^ Hillary Rodrigues 2003, pp. 46-54, 132-136.
  68. ^ Hillary Rodrigues 2003, pp. 57-59, 194-197.
  69. ^ a b Hillary Rodrigues 2003, pp. 277-278.
  70. ^ Hillary Rodrigues 2003, pp. 210-213.
  71. ^ Hillary Rodrigues 2003, pp. 62-63, 224-229.
  72. ^ Hillary Rodrigues 2003, pp. 244-245.
  73. ^ June McDaniel 2004, pp. 168-169.
  74. ^ Hillary Rodrigues 2003, pp. 66-67, 236-241, 246-247.
  75. ^ Hillary Rodrigues 2003, pp. 67-68.
  76. ^ Gupta, K.; Gupta, Amita, eds. (2006). Concise Encyclopaedia of India. 3. New Delhi: Atlantic. p. 986. ISBN 81-269-0639-1. 
  77. ^ a b c d e Nilima Chitgopekar (2009). Book Of Durga. Penguin Books. pp. 95–98. ISBN 978-0-14-306767-2. 
  78. ^ Vikas Khanna (2015). Indian Harvest: Classic and Contemporary Vegetarian Dishes. Bloomsbury Academic. p. 96. ISBN 978-1-63286-200-6. 
  79. ^ Amazzone 2012, p. 57.
  80. ^ Saligrama Krishna Ramachandra Rao (1988). Pratima Kosha: Descriptive Glossary of Indian Iconography. IBH Prakashana. pp. 47–49, 209. 
  81. ^ a b Christopher Chapple (2000). Hinduism and ecology: the intersection of earth, sky, and water. Harvard University Press. pp. 490, 484–489. ISBN 978-0-945454-25-0. 
  82. ^ Phoebe Godfrey; Denise Torres (2016). Emergent Possibilities for Global Sustainability: Intersections of Race, Class and Gender. Routledge. pp. 98–99. ISBN 978-1-317-57017-2. 
  83. ^ Ipsita Pati (OCTOBER 18, 2012), Paint with toxic chemicals banned during Puja, The Hindu Newspaper
  84. ^ June McDaniel 2004, pp. 204-205.
  85. ^ Rachel Fell McDermott (2011). Revelry, Rivalry, and Longing for the Goddesses of Bengal: The Fortunes of Hindu Festivals. Columbia University Press. pp. 204–205. ISBN 978-0-231-12919-0. 
  86. ^ Ira Katznelson; Gareth Stedman Jones (2010). Religion and the Political Imagination. Cambridge University Press. p. 343. ISBN 978-1-139-49317-8. 
  87. ^ Ghosha, Pratápachandra (1871). Durga Puja: with notes and illustrations by Pratápachandra. Calcutta: Hindoo Patriot press. pp. 60–65. 
  88. ^ Charles Phillips, Michael Kerrigan & David Gould 2011, pp. 98-101.
  89. ^ Fuller Christopher John (2004). "4". The camphor flame: popular Hinduism and society in India. Princeton University Press. p. 83. ISBN 978-0-691-12048-5. 
  90. ^ Harlan, Lindsey (2003). The goddesses' henchmen gender in Indian hero worship. Oxford [u.a.]: Oxford University Press. pp. 45 with footnote 55, 58–59. ISBN 978-0195154269. Retrieved 14 October 2016. 
  91. ^ Hiltebeitel, Alf; Erndl, Kathleen M. (2000). Is the Goddess a Feminist?: the Politics of South Asian Goddesses,. Sheffield, England: Sheffield Academic Press. p. 77. ISBN 9780814736197. 
  92. ^ Harlan, Lindsey (1992). Religion and Rajput Women. Berkeley, California: University of California Press. pp. 61, 88. ISBN 0-520-07339-8. 
  93. ^ Harlan, Lindsey (1992). Religion and Rajput Women. Berkeley, California: University of California Press. pp. 107–108. ISBN 0-520-07339-8. 
  94. ^ Hillary Rodrigues 2003, pp. 1-2, 10-11, 24-26, 351-352.
  95. ^ "Puja on the billboards" The Telegraph, 13 September 2009.
  96. ^ "Have you ever seen a Durga Idol this tall". Rediff. Rediff. Retrieved 3 November 2015. 
  97. ^ "Near stampede shuts down Deshapriya Park Durga Puja". The Times of India. Retrieved 3 November 2015. 
  98. ^ "Indian Festival History – Durga Puja". Indian Festival. Archived from the original on 4 November 2013. Retrieved 2 October 2011. 
  99. ^ Mahalaya ushers in the Puja spirit The Times of India, 19 September 2009.
  100. ^ "Sharodiya Pujabarshiki". 
  101. ^ "Durga The Divine Mother". Retrieved 2 October 2011. 
  102. ^ Zarine Khan (30 September 2011). "I Love Durga Pooja and Navratri". The Times of India. 
  103. ^ "Durga Puja". Open Source Templates. Archived from the original on 2011-09-26. Retrieved 2 October 2011. 
  104. ^ "Rani Rashmoni's House". Retrieved 2 October 2011. 
  105. ^ "Much enthusiasm for Durga Puja in Bihar". Zee News. 4 October 2011. Retrieved 26 September 2016. 
  106. ^ "Navratri". Retrieved 2 October 2011. 
  107. ^ Durga Puja in Bangalore
  108. ^ gears up for Durga Pooja celebrations Bangalore gears up for Durga Pooja celebrations
  109. ^ Sarjapur Outer Ring Road Bengali Association (SORRBA)
  110. ^ "The Chennai Bengal Association". The Chennai Bengal Association. Archived from the original on 2013-11-04. Retrieved 2 October 2011. 
  111. ^ Sumita Sarkar (6 October 2015). "Kumbh Mela delay fails to dampen Durga Puja preparations". The Times Of India. 
  112. ^ "Durga Puja". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 6 August 2009. Retrieved 1 October 2011. 
  113. ^ Sidhartha Roy (6 July 2011). "Making Delhi their own, religiously". Hindustan Times. Archived from the original on 2013-05-13. Retrieved 4 October 2011.  on the early history of Durga puja in Delhi
  114. ^ a b "Remembering the puja that was". Dnaindia.com. Retrieved 2013-06-25. 
  115. ^ "Bamboo barricading in Yamuna to check water pollution". The Daily Pioneer. 4 October 2011.  more than 1000 sculptures are immersed in the Yamuna alone
  116. ^ "["Multicultural Hong Kong in Celebration" Series] Durga Puja: an Indian festival in Hong Kong". Retrieved 21 July 2016. 
  117. ^ "The HKyantoyan The Hong Kong Indian Lifestyle Portal". 
  118. ^ a b c Cite error: The named reference NHP was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  119. ^ "Garden State Puja Committee". GSPC. 
  120. ^ "Welcome to the Garden State Cultural Association". Garden State Cultural Association. 
  121. ^ "Bay Area Prabasi". Bay Area Prabasi. 
  122. ^ "Dallas Bengali Association". Antorik. 
  123. ^ "BBC Thames immersion for Hindu sculptures". BBC UK. 2 October 2006. Retrieved 4 October 2011. 
  124. ^ "Durga Puja in Switzerland". www.swisspuja.org. Retrieved 2016-10-29. 
  125. ^ "Bengali Association of Singapore". Bengaliassociationsg.com. Retrieved 2013-06-25. 
  126. ^ "Joi Baba Felunath IMDB". Retrieved 1 October 2011. 


Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]