If you have not experienced West Bengal during Durga Puja, then you have not truly immersed into the madness of the City Of Joy. The entire state of West Bengal welcomes Goddess Durga and her children, along with the mighty demon mighty demon Mahishasura with open arms and hearts filled with incomprehensible emotions of togetherness.
THE IDOLS : The Idols of Durga and her children is obviously the most important part of the grand event. The whole structure or frame is called a Chala.
CHOKKHU DAAN : In the making of the durga idols, final stroke of the paint makes the eyes of Durga. It is done in dark by a single sculptor.
ASHTAMI PUSHPANJALI : No bengali misses the Pushpanjali or flower offering on the eighth day of the festival, Ashtami.
THEME PUJA PANDALS : The theme Puja pandals during Durga Puja in West Bengal will give the biggest artists in the world a run for their money.
BAROWARI PUJO : Barir pujo or the traditional goddess worships in the old dilapidated mansions of North Kolkata are what Durga Puja used to look like about a hundred years ago.
KUMARI PUJA : Goddess Durga is worshipped in many forms, the purest of which is the Kumari form. A young unmarried girl, not more than 16 years old is worshipped in the form of Durga.
SANDHYA ARATI : Every evening of Durga Puja is a grand festival in itself. Sandhya Arati or the Evening Offering is an integral part of the rituals with beating of drums, arati and dhunuchi naach.
THE FOOD : West Bengal overdoses with so many variety of meat and seafood that you are left with a permanent feeling of overeating at all times.
THE CROWD : Nights are meant for cruising in the jampacked streets in search of food, or the nearest pandal, or just aimlessly in the company of friends. The crowd is unbelievable.
SINDUR KHELA : Married woman gather at puja pandals on the last day of Puja and smear vermilion (sindoor) on each other’s faces. This ritual marks the farewell of Goddess Durga.
VISARJAN : Thousands of processions, millions of people throng the roads as Goddess Durga bids adieu to her family and sets off for the Himalayas. The idols are immersed into the river, heads first. A ritual of family reunion takes place following the immersion.
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