Durga puja is a festivity that can be dated back to the ancient times. Numerous references have been made about Durga puja celebrations in the Indian literature from the 12th century onwards. The traditions remain unchanged, but the style of celebration has undergone a major transformation. In the bygone times, it was considered to be a festivity of the rich and powerful people. Read on to know more about the Durga pooja celebrations in India.
With the coming up of the concept of joining clubs, the Durga puja
festival celebration has become cosmopolitan in nature. In the
contemporary times, Durga puja festivity is like a grand extravaganza.
Many days before the arrival of this festivity, people are full of
excitement and enthusiasm. As a part of Durga pooja celebrations,
beautiful pandals are erected and embellished with flowers. Conchshells
and drums have a major role to play in setting the mood for festivity
At every nook and corner, you'll find one pandal. Due to the migration
of Bengalis to other parts of the country, Durga puja is now celebrated
in rest parts of the country also. For the craftsmen and artisans, Durga
puja is the time for earning good business. The first four days of Durga
puja are very hectic and witness lot of activities like different kinds
of competitions are held to energize the people. The artists get a
platform to show their talent to the people and make a name for
The main celebration takes place from the sixth day, i.e. more commonly
known as maha shashthi. On this day, the priest displays the deity while
performing the puja. Women usually fast on this day praying for the
wellbeing of their families. They break their fast in the evening time
with fruits and luchis (different kind of bread made from flour). A
visit to the local pandal is like a must.
On the seventh day, i.e. maha saptami, people wake up early and on an
empty stomach, they offer prayers to the deity. After the prayers are
over, Prasad is offered to the deity. During the lunch time, special
meal is served to all those, who congregate in the pandals. If you visit
the pandals during the evenings, the view is very pleasing, as people
with glowing faces are dressed in colorful clothes. The dazzling clothes
and ornaments, spectacular lighting, beating of drums, humming of birds
and chitchatting of people will set the mood for partying.
The eighth day, which is known as maha ashtami, is one of the most
significant days of the Durga puja festivity. While chanting the
Shlokas, the priest performs a special puja known as the sandhi puja. On
this day, the reflection of the deity is seen in a bowl of water. This
gives a feeling of the movement of deity. The puja is popularly known as
pranpratishtha (means breathing life into the idol). By the evening,
merry making is on its peak.
Pandal hopping is the favorite pastime activity during the occasion of
Durga pooja. On the ninth day that is known as maha navmi, meat is
served in most of the pandals as a part of Bhog. Since, it is the
penultimate day of the Durga puja festival celebration, people start
realizing that the festivity is about to get over. This is how the Durga
puja celebration takes place in India.