Durga Puja is considered as one of the largest festivals in India. Be it West Bengal or any other part of India or world, Durga Puja has a special place in the hearts of Indians.
This festival is celebrated with great pomp and show at West Bengal. As the puffy clouds start floating at the autumn sky, milky white ‘kash’ flowers cover the green fields and the
aroma of dew drenched shiuli fill the air, nature announces the arrival of the Goddess, Devi Durga.
The Durga Puja that we celebrate at the month of September or October; is the puja the Lord Rama did prior to his fight with Ravana. Sasti, Saptami, Asthami, Navami and Dusherra are the five days when goddess Durga is worshipped at Bengal.
Durga Puja is just not the worship of the goddess of power; it is the divine joy of reunion of parents with their children, friends, sisters and brothers, who spent the whole year at an unknown land and return to their soil during the puja. Hence, if you peep at the interiors of any Bengali family during the puja, you will find groups of people chit chatting, forgetting the world; popularly known as ‘adda.’
With time, Durga Puja has also gained momentum and the concept of theme puja has given a different edge to it. As you enterany puja pandal, you will feel as if you are entering an historic site; most of the puja pandals now-a-days are replica of historic monuments, like Khajuraho temple, Konark temple and many more.
The colourful lighting enhances the beauty of the puja pandals and also portrays different facets of life. The puja committees spend lavishly on the idols and the pandals to be the best of the town; there are several prestigious awards given at the end of the puja to the best puja, pandals and lighting. Thus, the traditional Durga Puja has also not been able to avoid the sting of competition and rat race.
Shopping is an indispensable component of Durga Puja. Shopping starts much before the festival, as people of all ages start preparing themselves; everyone wants to greet Mother Durga in their best attire.
Last but not the least; Durga Puja is the best time to relish authentic Bengali cuisines. During this festive season, the day at a Bengali house starts with a lip smacking breakfast menu of piping hot luchi, aloo dum and rajbhog, the lunch and dinner is sumptuous with steaming hot rice or pulao, varied fish items and spicy mutton curry.
Bengalis are in love with street food and hence near every puja pandal you will surely find numerous food stalls, selling egg and chicken rolls, chaats and puchkas. Sweets have a special place is the hearts of the Bengalis and hence are a must in the festive season. Barfi, nariyal and besan ladoo, rasamalai, rasgullas are to name a few.
Durga Puja hence is just not a religious occasion, it is a time when people from all walks of life revive from the daily stresses and spend some moments of pure happiness and life.