The Rituals of Durga Puja
Durga Puja festival starts with Mahalaya which is the first stage of shining moon in Ashwin. Thousands present prayers to their intimates at city's river banks, this ritual is named ‘Tarpan’. The induction of Goddess idol begins on Maha Shasthi. Main puja is of three days – Maha Saptami, Maha Astami and Maha Navami respectively. Puja rituals are extensive and very complicated. These three days of Shlokas, Mantras, Arati and offerings requires an expert priest. As a sresult of this, today number of Pujas in families has reduced considerably and Durga Puja is now become a community festival.
On Maha Shashthi, Goddess Durga comes to mortal world from heavenly abode, attended by her children. She is received with great elaboration with beats of Dhak. Unveiling the idol’s face is the chief ceremony on this day. Kalaparambho, the ceremony made before start of puja leads Amontron, Bodhon and Adibas.
Maha Saptami is Durga puja’s first day. Nabapatrika or Kola Bow is given a predawn shower. It’s an ancient ceremony of devoting 9 plant types. Together, they are devoted as symbol of goddess. Main Saptami Puja trails Kalparambho and Mahasnan.
It began with reading Sanskrit hymns in the public puja pandals because thousands of devotees giving Anjali to goddess Durga. Kumari Puja or adoration of little girls like mother goddess was unique part of rites observed in different household and traditional pujas. With day went on, it was time for Sandhi Puja, which marks connecting of Maha Ashtami and Maha Navami.
It’s Durga Puja’s final day. Main Navami puja starts after ending of Sandhi Puja. Navami Bhog is given to the goddess first. This is taken later as Prasad by devotees.
After Puja’s three days, comes Vijaya Dashami. On this last day, a weepy leaving is given to Goddess. Most of community pujas delay leaving if possible and organize a magnificent send-off. Images are taken in parades around locality and lastly are engrossed in nearby lake or river. Vijaya Dashami is celebrated in the whole country.