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Durga Devi Namo Namah

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Enjoy this year’s Durga Puja photos, brought to us by Ankur. Click on any one of them to see the slideshow of entire photo gallery. The slideshow is captioned by stories – mythological and social – of Durga festival.

Durga Goddess

The Goddess

The Demon

The Demon

The Devotees

The Devotees

Durga Puja is celebration of warrior Goddess Durga killing the buffalo demon Mahisha who was could not be killed by a man or an animal. Durga worship among Bengalis coincides with north Indian celebration of Dussehra when Rama conquers Ravana. Although this is a ten day celebration, the seventh through ninth days are most glorious when communities get together to worship, eat and set up music, dance and theater performances.

Her Face Feeding the Goddess Her Hand

Gods, being male themselves, could not kill the demon. So they collectively created Durga and her multitudinous hands hold weapons gifted to her from all Gods. The occasion of this miraculous birth is marked by Mahalaya when Bengali folks wake up to the great audio drama Mahishasur Mardini (“Annihilator of Demon Mahesha”) played on All India Radio in the early hours of dawn. Creation of these beautiful idols starts months ahead of the puja. Traditional craftsmen make the image of the Goddess using mud and straws – a painstaking birth ritual unlike the miraculous one.

In Calcutta, communities compete to set up elaborate makeshift venues, sometimes designed to look like the White House or the Taj Mahal. Puja committees put together entertainment plans months in advance and prepare their respective music or theater or dance numbers. Households of participating performance artists take turns hosting the practice sessions – accompanied by numerous chai and rasogollas. These performances typically take place between the seventh and ninth night of the puja – sometimes into the late hours of the night. On the tenth day, after the demon is killed, the idols are immersed in the nearest river, one that flows into Ganges, with great pomp and traffic jam.

Goddess at the Ghat

Goddess at the Ghat

Crowd at the Ghat

Crowd at the Ghat

Keeping an eye

Keeping an eye

Written by locomotoring

September 29, 2009 at 9:39 pm

One Response

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  1. Love the coverage on locomotoring!!!!


    October 1, 2009 at 4:33 am

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