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Durga Puja : A Festival of Fervour

The cause of you, I, he or she, everyone today is the womb of a woman who gave us birth. Everyone that has an existence on the earth roots from a mother. There is no word sweeter than Maa (mother). There is no place safer than a mother’s lap. Women, in Her every form is worship able. It is said that God could not be anywhere at any time, so He created mother. 

Our mythologies also describe the power of women. Definitely, women treat everyone sweetly. She adores all. But at times to save the innocent from the cruel, Maa always perishes the evil. Such a powerful and graceful Goddess is Maa Durga who once killed a giant demon to save the earth from being destroyed. 

In remembrance of the Almighty Goddess Maa Durga, people of India celebrate Durga Puja (also called Dussehra) in the month of Ashwin or Karthik. It is one of the major festivals of Odisha and West Bengal and is celebrated with great enthusiasm and fervor. 

Durga puka
courtesy Miracle Foundation

The festival of Durga Puja commemorates the worshipping of Goddess of power and war Durga. In the state of Odisha, the festival of Durga Puja has a distinct place. It is always a big and grand celebration and perhaps with the biggest budget. Crores of rupees is spent during Durga Puja. It is one of the prominent festivals of Shaktism in Hindu religion. 

When Is It Celebrated? 

According to the Odia Calendar, Durga Puja falls in the month of Ashwin or Karthik. This resembles September or October in the English Calendar. The festival lasts for a period of five days. The first day is called Sashthi and the final day is called Dashami

Where Is It Celebrated? 

The celebration of Durga Puja is celebrated all over India. The states of Assam, Bihar, Manipur, Meghalaya, Jharkhand and also West Bengal and Odisha celebrate the festival with great enthusiasm. The celebration in the states of West Bengal, Odisha and Asaam has no comparison. 

Why Is It Celebrated? 

Goddess Durga is also known by the name Mahisha Mardini. Because she killed Mahishasura, a demon king who was on his way to destroy nature. No God could defeat him. Hence at last, they took the help of Devi Durga. So, to mark the victory of Goddess Durga over the demon King, people of India celebrate Durga Puja with high rigour and festive charms

It begins on the same day as Navratri, a nine-night festival celebrating the divine feminine. Durga Puja’s first day is Mahalaya, which heralds the advent of the goddess. Celebrations and worship begin on Sasthi, the sixth day.

How Is It Celebrated In Odisha? 

During the celebration of Durga Puja festival in Odisha, devotees take blessings from Maa Durga to eliminate the evil from their minds. Crowds come in thousands to the puja mandaps to enjoy the beauty of the Goddess and seek blessings. This festival truly symbolizes the triumph of good over evil.

Durga Puja celebration in Talcher
Durga Puja celebration in Talcher, 2018 (courtesy Odisha Diary)
Durga Puja pandal
courtesy ANI News

Pandals or Mandaps mark the celebration of Durga Puja in Odisha. Highly elegant Durga Idols are installed into the mandaps. Durga Medha (Idol of Durga) is the mere attraction of the festival in Odisha. The budget of the celebration is so high that idols made from silver and gold are often installed. The filigree and jewellery works used in the idols blows you away. 

Made up of clay, the idol of the Goddess is lavishly decorated with beautiful and fragrant flowers, embellished with immaculate pieces and bright lights. The idol shows the Goddess Durga seated on a huge lion and slaying the ‘buffalo demon’ right beneath her feet depicting the power that the Goddess possesses. 

The cities and towns of Odisha adorn themselves with colourful lights. Gates at the entrance to the Puja Mandap are of utmost attraction. Different puja mandaps build various styles of gates showcasing the culture and tourism of India through themes. 

The elegant Idol of Maa Durga equipped with jewels and decorated with lightings and flowers doubles the beauty of the cities of Odisha. From the day of Shashti to Dashami, people come to see the puja mandaps and the idols. 

What is Its Significance? 

Durga Puja is not only a festival. It is also a tradition that has been carried since ancestors. The evil shall perish and the truth shall triumph. Maa Durga gives blessings to all Her sons and daughters. As she killed Mahishasura, the giant demon king, she inspires everyone to face the evil with courage. 

Durga Puja festival also carries a lot of cultural heritage. The festival signifies the power of women. In time, women were considered as weak. They couldn’t bear with men as was believed. But Devi Durga as an illustration, eliminated all the myths. She proved that there is no one stronger than a woman as there is no one sweeter than a woman. Maa Durga also warns all those who have demons inside their mind. A visit of Maa’s face surely washes away all our bad thoughts and fills our heart with good ones. 

The Visarjan 

Finally, Devi Durga has to say us Good Bye and return to Her home. She remains with everyone for a number of days, blesses her and then leaves. She also promises to come back next year. Idols of Durga are immersed into the waters. This is known as Visarjan. In Odisha, this is called Bhasani. A huge procession follows the Bisarjan process to bid a goodbye to the beloved mother Goddess Maa Durga. 

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