With millions of people in India and many across the globe participating in the yearly festival of Durga Pujo, this grand celebration to rejoice in the victory of good over evil can truly be regarded as the World's Biggest Sarbajanin Festival (A festival for one and all). The age old rituals and traditions associated with Durga Pujo have gradually evolved into an iconic celebration of modern Bengali identity in West Bengal. Durga Pujo today is not just a religious ceremony dedicated to the worship of Goddess Durga, it is a congregation of culture, society, religion and ethnicity to name a few. Let's travel through the many facets of Durga Pujo today...
Basic bamboo structures and canopies built to house the idol of Goddess Durga and her children are a thing of the past now. The simple pandals of the past have been replaced with creatively done artistic themed pandals. Armed with tools of imagination, the idol makers and decorators use almost everything that can be utilised to give shape to their ideas, starting from Gangetic clay to paper mache, bamboo splints, nuts, seeds, beads, fabrics, hay, paper, cardboard, wood, plastics, glass, ceramics, shells, beads, razor blades, screws nuts, bolts and more.More
While clay and stones are still used in the making of the Goddess, modern artisans have not stopped themselves from experimenting with other material like fibre, wood, wax etc. in creating the Goddess. Like women these days, modern day Durga too does not restrict her look to only the traditional. Many Durga Pujos especially the Theme Pujos innovate looks for the Goddess in keeping with the Theme of the Pandal.More
Gone are the days when Pujor Bhog and home-cooked food was the only food to look forward to during the Durga Pujo celebrations. With multi-cuisine restaurants popping up at every corner of the road, the options to choose your best pick of food to satisfy your heart and soul are immense.More
If you are a book lover or love to read, you would definitely be looking forward to the Pujo Barshiki or annual periodicals that come out a couple of months or weeks prior to Durga Pujo.More
Today, Durga Pujo has become the favourite time for Brands to advertise and promote their products and services. You would notice that almost every Pujo Pandal has big hoardings of their advertisers with 100% visibility. Many pandals also give prominence to their main sponsors by attaching their names to the Pujo.More
Commercialism has definitely taken over a major part of the Durga Pujo celebrations today. One of the main aspects of the same can be seen in the Pre-Pujo Sales held at garment stores across Kolkata and its neighbouring districts. Everyone looks forward to the End of Season sales that commence a few months prior to Durga Pujo. After all everyone likes to grab their best branded clothes at the lowest price available!More
While enjoying adda sessions at your local Pujo or Parar Pujo is a constant during the 5-day festivities, the younger generation - all decked up and in high spirits – spend a lot of time at some of the iconic Community Pujos that have gradually evolved as adda-zones. Some of these prominent adda-zones include Durga Bari, Maddox Square and Salt Lake FD Block among the many others. Sitting for a session of Adda (chit chat) at your favourite pandal is a must during Durga Pujo.Know more
Amongst the many traditions of Durga Pujo, Dhunuchi Naach is a must - especially during Ashtami Pujo and the immersions. While men performing Dhunuchi Naach is common, with the times changing, Dhunuchi Naach or dancing with a pot of burning incense is no longer a man thing. Women dressed in beautiful traditional attire perform Dhunuchi Naach at many pandals and Pujo across the city of Kolkata. If you are lucky, you can catch a glimpse of this beautiful dance online right here on MahaUtsav Online, in its Online Darshan section.
Traditional Pandal and Pujo Parikrama tours entice both, the Kolkata residents as well as the non-resident Kolkatans alike, especially the senior citizens. These days, exclusive tours are planned to include a mix of cherry-picked traditional as well as themed Durga Pujo that are popular and in-demand. These are prearranged to avoid rush hours, and fortified with VIP entries in order to avoid the maddening pandal-hopping crowd and chaos.More
In present times, digitisation has helped people transcend boundaries. Puja wishes on email, e-greetings, WhatsApp stickers, Facebook GIFs have replaced the traditional morning wishes on Pujo Days. Near or far, wishing the close relatives, friends or family has turned easier on the auspicious days of Maha Shashthi, Maha Saptami, Maha Ashtami and Maha Nabami. True, the messages cannot offer the solace that a Bijoya Kolakuli (hug) can give, but it at least makes you feel connected with the people you love.
Durga Pujo is a time for celebrations! To add to the joy of the festival, a number of Pujo Committees these days hold Jatras (plays/ skits), musical concerts, dance dramas, competitions etc. near their pandals for people to participate and showcase their talents while the people enjoy! Many also invite eminent singers, dancers, Tollywood and Bollywood stars to perform at concerts held during the Durga Pujos. The popularity of Bangla Bands have created a huge demand for them to perform during the Durga Pujos in the city.
The concerts and cultural programmes surely make the World's Biggest Festival Complete in every aspect!
In recent years, the Government of West Bengal has been organizing special Durga Pujo Parades at the end of the Pujos where the best Pujo idols of the Goddess are paraded for public viewing. So if you have missed seeing some of the best Pujos in town, this is the time when you can view the same, and all together at one go. This happens after the official immersions are over on Dashami, giving people an excuse to extend their celebrations! The Government of West Bengal also organizes cruises across the river Ganga for people to witness the immersion of the idols.
Durga Pujo has always been ‘a festival for all’. It is perhaps the only Hindu festival in India which sees people of all religions and strata of the society enjoying pandal hopping, eating out and having fun day and night together with their Bengali friends and families during Durga Pujo making this festival truly "Sarbajanin" – for all.
Durga Pujo in present times has definitely become even more mesmerizing and grand than ever. And for those who are not around to experience this one-of-its-kind festive extravaganza, MahaUtsav Online gives you the opportunity of joining in the celebrations of the World's Biggest Festival with a click of your mouse - online.