Durga Puja, also known as Durgotsava is a Hindu festival which is celebrated every
year in the Southern part of Asia in which the Hindu goddess Durga is worshiped.
The traditional Hindu calendar decides the date of the festival and it goes on for
six days. This festival is celebrated to mark the victory of Goddess Durga over
Mahishasura, the buffalo demon. It is
celebrated to rejoice the victory of good over evil.
Durga Puja is celebrated all over the country with great joy and enthusiasm and
in states like Assam, Bihar, Manipur, West Bengal, Tripura and Jharkhand a five
day holiday is announced. West Bengal and Tripura celebrate Durga Puja with extreme
joy and it seems that the whole city is on the streets during this festival. It
is the most significant festival in Bengal as most of the Hindu Bengalis belong
from there. States like Delhi, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh
etc also celebrate Durga Puja with great enthusiasm. Nepal and Bangladesh also celebrate
this festival and the places like Dhaka, Khulna, Chittagong, Rajshahi, Bogra etc.
have a great significance of this festival in their lives.There is a three day national
holiday in these areas as the 20 percent population is Hindu. There are several
cultural programs which are held during Durga Puja and a lot of people participate
There are several organizations outside India which arrange for the festival’s celebration
in countries like USA, Canada, Germany, Netherlands and Australia. In the year 2006,
Durga Puja was celebrated in the Great Court in the British Museum.
During the British rule in India, the prominence of the festival increased a lot
and there were Hindu reformist, who indentified India with Goddess Durga and in
fact, she became the icon for the Indian Independence Movement. It became one of
the most celebrated festivals in the world after India got independence.
Durga Puja also includes worship of Lord Shiva who is the consort of Goddess Durga,
an aspect of Goddess Parvati. The children of Goddess Durga who are Ganesha, Lakshmi,
Saraswati and Kartikeya are also worshiped in this festival. People worship the
Mother Nature with nine types of plants which signify the nine divine forms of Goddess
In the modern times, Durga Puja is celebrated by putting up decorated pandals or
tents and putting up decorated idols of Goddess Durga killing Mahishasura. Several
programs also take place in the celebration and are a treat for the kids as several
pandals host fancy dress competition and other talent shows for the entertainment
of the people. The pandals are also made on several themes which are decided by
the Puja Committees of West Bengal. The idols are made and decorated by students
studying art and architecture and even professional idol makers also do so. Durga
Puja also gets a lot of attention from the media covering all the idols of the city
which are decorated beautifully. There are local awards for the best pandala in
the city too.