Durga Puja, one of the biggest festival of India is so much full of warmth and smiles throughout the entire country. The three days of Puja- Saptami, Ashtami and Navami, are like three days of rejuvenation for not only Bengalis, but for everyone who needs a break. The constant sound of Dhak and Shankh mesmerizes all our senses and infuses positivity inside our soul, rejoicing our entire existence out of misery and pain.
Durga Puja starts with Sashti, the day which starts with the ceremony of Bandhan. It is well known that Saradia Puja was initiated by Rama for the victory against Ravana and that’s why the goddess is invoked.
Then starts the daily rituals comprising several customs, one such is Anjali. This ritual is usually during the early hours of morning and is performed each of the three days of Durga Puja. Anjali is performed by the purohit where the people fast until its done. This custom is the way to give respect to the goddess through Pushpanjali (flowers in cupped palms). Three rounds of the floral offerings is made to complete one Anjali per day by a person.
Kumari Puja is performed during Ashtami. In this Puja, a pre-pubescent girl gets decorated with flowers and new clothes, and given the stage to share with the goddess. The little girl is then worshipped by the people regarding her as the living incarnation of Maa Durga.
At the end of Ashtami and the beginning of Navami, Sandhi Puja is performed which marks the Chamunda form of Goddess Durga emerging out to kill the demons named Chanda and Munda. The priest chants out the mantra while 108 diyas are lit having the dhaks go along with it. In the past, animal sacrifices were done which now got amended with vegetables getting symbolically sacrificed.
“Dhunochi Naach” is the one of the most exciting custom of the Puja. People take clay pots in hands with burning charcoals emitting beautiful smoke and dance their heart out to the sound of the Dhak. The scene of the dance purifies everyone’s heart bringing in warm vibes inside their soul.
Three days of glory and festivity comes to an end with “Vijaya Dashami”, also known as Dussehra which is celebrated at the end of Navratri every year. For Bengalis, Dashami marks the end of Durga Puja, the day when Maa Durga overpowers the devil and gets her victory. The auspicious day is celebrated throughout India and in many countries too, in a very huge festivity leading ahead the heritage and the tradition.
On the day of Vijaya Dashami, married bengali women play the vermilion game populary known as “Sidoor Khela”. After the conclusion of puja rituals, sindoor is given at the goddess’ feet and later on, on each other marking the beauty of women showered in the vibrant colour of red. They feed each other with sweets, and smear each other’s Shakha, Pola, Moa etc. According to belief, when a woman plays Sidoor Khela by following the proper customs, she will never be widowed in her life, thus protecting her husband and children from all evil. The three day ritual worship of Devi comes in a conclusion in this day with the performance of Visarjan Puja later followed by Devi Baran.
On October 26, 125 sets of Puja idols were meant immersed in the Barak river at Silchar’s Sadarghat. 80 puja committees along with 45 residential Durga Puja committees have been granted permission for the Visarjan. 35 sets of idols were immersed till 1:30pm. Later, 132 sets were immersed and the Sadarghat gate was closed at 10 pm.
Strong SOPs were issued for the idol immersion due covid safety precautions. NRDF jawaans and Assam Police Officials were placed at the Visarjan ghat for all the safety measures.
With dhak, dhol and dhunuchi, this years long awaited Puja comes to an end with the hope that the goddess will take away all the misery and pain, and will relieve humanity into its prior healthy state.
Afterall “Asche Bochor Abar Hobe”!
Featured Image Courtesy : Drone Photography Silchar