Durga Puja - the ceremonial worship of the mother goddess - will be celebrated from October 11-14, 2013. Apart from being one of the major festivals of India, it is also an occasion to celebrate traditional culture and customs. While the rituals entails ten days of fast, feast and worship, the last four days - Saptami, Ashtami, Navami and Dashami - are celebrated with much gaiety and grandeur in India and abroad, especially in Bengal, where the ten-armed goddess riding the lion is worshipped with great passion and devotion.
In Hindu mythology, Durga Puja commemorates Prince Rama's invocation of the goddess before going to war with the Ravana, the king of Lanka. Thus goes the story of Lord Rama, who first worshipped the 'Mahishasura Mardini' or the slayer of the buffalo-demon, by offering 108 blue lotuses and lighting 108 lamps, at this time of the year.
In history, when was Durga Puja first celebrated? The first grand worship of Goddess Durga in recorded history is said to have been celebrated in the late 1500s. Folklores say the landlords or zamindar of Dinajpur and Malda initiated the first Durga Puja in Bengal. According to another source, Raja Kangshanarayan of Taherpur or Bhabananda Mazumdar of Nadiya organized the first Sharadiya or Autumn Durga Puja in Bengal in c 1606. Read more...
Photo by Ajay Rawat