Goddess Durga holds a prominent place in Bengali culture and traditions. She is considered as the major deity of the place and highly worshiped by young, old, men, women and everyone. When it comes to Navratri, you must see the grandeur of the place. Kolkata the capital city of West Bengal is must visit the place during the Navratri season. The whole place dips into the charisma and grandeur of Navratri celebration. Vibrantly decorated with lights and lamps, you would get an unforgettable time of your India Tours during this festival.
Here in this post, we are going to discuss this 10 days festival that generally starts from the 6th day and completes on the 10th day that is on Vijaydashmi. This year Durga Puja in Kolkata will starts from Fri, 20 Oct, 2023 – Tue, 24 Oct, 2023.
Goddess Durga was manifested or emerged from the collective energies of Gods to kill the shape-shifting demon named Mahishasur. Mahishasur had a boon that he was killed by any men or God. Thus each God collects their energies which took the form of Durga which means Impenetrable. Goddess had a fierce war with Mahishasur that runs for 9 days and the 10th day the demon king was slain by Goddess Durga. These 9 days are celebrated with all grandeur to celebrate women power.
The preparation and celebration of Durga Puja in Kolkata is quite mesmerizing and is worth watching. If you are planning to visit the City of Joy during this time, we suggest you to at least come 7 days before the actual festival start so that you can be the witness of the finishing touch of the grand gala. The excitement and the eagerness of bringing Goddess Mother Durga home will bring new life to the city.
The unique ritual of Chokkhu Daan is one of its kinds and is a specialty of Bengali culture. The idols of Goddess Durga are being painted ready except for the eyes. When the occasion of Mahalaya has arrived, the Goddess Shakti is being invited on earth following some rituals and on the day of Mahalaya, eyes of Idols are drawn. Legend has that while drawing the eyes on idols Goddess Durga descends to the earth.
After the ritual of Chokkhu Daan, the procession of the idol of Goddess Durga takes place. This procession happens on the 6th day of Navratri and on the first day of Durga Puja in Kolkata. The idol will be brought to home or to pandals (Public displays) where it will be ornamented with flowers, clothes, jewelry, and sindoor (red vermillion). The sweets and other exotic Bengali delicacies are offered to Goddess. As Goddess Durga is believed to be the incarnation of Goddess Parvati who is the mother of obstacle remover God Ganesha, thus the idol of Lord Ganesha is also accompanied with the idol of Goddess Durga.
On the seventh day, the ritual of Kola Bou Bath takes place. The ritual is all about invoking the essence of Goddess Durga in the idol, it is also called “Pran Prathishtha”. During this ritual, a small plant of banana which is called Kola Bou will be taken to the river to be bathed. Once it is done with bathing, Kola Bou will be wrapped in a red-bordered sari and taken back to the procession. The banana plant will be then placed near the idol of Goddess Durga. Post Kola Bou procession devotees started with ritualistic prayers and puja which will run for the whole remaining day. If you being in Kolkata during your India tour packages then you can also take part in the cultural activities that happen after Kola Bou. Singing, dancing, skits, plays and many things are performed in here.
The immersion of the idol of Goddess Durga is quite similar to that of the immersion of an idol of Lord Ganesha during Ganesh Chaturthi festival in India. It takes place on the last day of Durga Puja that is on the 10th day, it is believed that on this day, Goddess Durga slew demon Mahishasur and maintain the balance of nature. People worship Goddess and offered with many sweets, food, and ornamented items. People on this day gather together for the immersion of idol. Before immersion takes place, married women smear sindoor on each other. Vermillion is the symbol of marriage and fertility. The Babu Ghat is a popular place for immersion that is located near Eden Garden.
With the immersion, the 10 days of the festival comes to an end. But we are not stopping over here and have brought to you the list of some other things that you can do during your Durga Puja tours in Kolkata.
1. Exploring Pandalas – Various pandals, huge and smalls compacting with beautiful idols of Goddess Durga are the major attraction of Durga Puja. Ekdalia Evergreen, College Square, Jodhpur Park, and Badamtala Ashar Sangha are the major pandals.
2. Savoring The Exotic Range of Delicacies – Food and festival are complementary of each other. Kolkata the city of Joy is not only having a rich culture but is also having a wide range of rich Bengali cuisine. During the Durga festival, one can enjoy a wide range of Bengali cuisines ranges from snacks to sweet dishes. One can also enjoy eating at pandals where food is served as Bhog (God’s offering). You can also visit restaurants in here.
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