[Pictures] The Grandeur of Durga Puja 2012

The Navratri began on 16th Oct 2012, and so began days of joy, dance, music, pleasure and above all, devotion. Every state was outperformed by the charm of Gujarati art of celebrating, with the Garba/Dandiya Raas. Soon, 6th day of the Navratri fell on 20th October, and as many of you all might know, the Bengali community begin their celebration of the year long awaited festival. In Udaipur, this occasion is being celebrated from more than 5 decades by the people from Bengali community who are proud residents of this wonderful City of Lakes.

Like every other year, this year too, there were celebrations at different places in Udaipur. UdaipurBlog.com brings you pictures from the 4 day celebrations of Durga Puja that ended on Vijaya Dashmi. Beginning with the bodhan, to routine rituals, “pushpanjali”, “balidaan”, “sandhi-puja”, and the famous “Dhunichi” dance and Sindur Play, the celebration concluded with immersion of the deity idols into water bodies. For a detailed info on the traditions and how the idols are made ‘Eco Frendly’ as well as fit for immersion into water bodies, I suggest you to read the post below

Link: Shree Shree Durga Puja: Traditions Penned by the initiators of Durga Puja in Udaipur

Photos By: Aniket John, Gaurav Bhattacharya, Prasun Bannerjee

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Bindu Bhawan
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Bang Bhawan
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Hiran Magri
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Town Hall
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Sindur Khela

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Visarjan

Shree Shree Durga Puja: Traditions Penned by the initiators of Durga Puja in Udaipur

About the Author: Mr. Anand Bhattacharya is an Advocate, and belongs to the successor generation of  late Shri Nripendralal Bhattacharya, who started the Durga Pooja ceremony in Udaipur in the year 1956 , at Bindu Bhawan, 49,Shastri Marg, Udaipur. Since then it is being celebrated there every year at the same place with spirits of great enthusiasm, zeal, and spirituality, and the culture is inherited by generations.

Durga Pooja | UdaipurBlog

Shree Shree Durga Pooja”, which is being celebrated during the Shukla Paksh of Bengali Kartik month every year, known as “Navratri” in the Hindi speaking area of the country, is not just a religious ceremony for the Bengalis. It is a religious-cum-social function and as the festival approaches, the heart of every Bengali is enveloped by the feeling of joy and pleasure. This is a time of the year, when all the new and major purchases are done, new books, new films, new songs, new designs of cloths etc. are released and Bengalis, specially those residing in Kolkata, often plan site seeing trips to various places, specially because the schools also remain closed for around fifteen days during this time. The business, especially for those dealing in consumer goods, is very brisk. Shops are flooded with fresh stock of consumer goods and the market is full of customers.

Normally the Pooja used to be celebrated, initially in Chaitra Month (i.e. around March-April) in the olden days. However, it is said that the Pooja during this time (September-October month) of the year, was started by Shree Raam during his fight with Ravan, when  he was not able to overcome the strength of Ravan. This Pooja is therefore also known as “Akaal Bodhan” [Akaal means – untimely and bodhan means – commencement]. It is also very interesting to note, that as per the belief, this Pooja was performed for Raam, by none other than Ravan himself, who was a Brahmin of the highest order, as there was no other able Brahmin available at the place where such Pooja was performed. This was done by Ravan, knowing fully well that the aim of this Pooja was for vanquishing him. This shows the depth of our culture, where duty is given priority over every other thing – even the life of the person.

Durga Puja Aarti | UdaipurBlog

As against the Navratri pooja, which starts from the first day of Shukla Paksh [ekum], the Durga Pooja as per Bengali system, starts from the sixth day or “Shashti”. There are two Puraans – Devi Puraan and Kalika Puraan – under one of which the Pooja is performed as per Bengali system.

Another very important fact which requires to be taken note of, is that the idol of Shree Shree Durga Mataji is made of completely natural (mostly bio-degradable) commodities. The basic structure or the body of the idols is made by straw being tied to bamboos by jute string (sutli). Over this structure of straw,  the first coat of mud, impregnated with chaff of rice, is applied. Addition of chaff, strengthens the binding quality of the mud. Once this first coat of mud gets dried up, the second and smooth coat of pure and closely sieved mud is applied, which gives the final shape and smoothness to the idols. Once this coat gets dried up, a primary coating of chalk is applied on the mud. After that coat dries up, natural water colors are applied thereon. These water colors are dissolved in the extract obtained by boiling tamarind seeds in water. That makes the colors permanent. After drying up of the colour , the whole idol is coated with a fine solution of sabudana [TROPICANA SEEDS] boiled and dissolved in water. This acts as a laminating film for the colours, and protects it from atmospheric effects like fading out etc.. The hairs are made of finely combed jute, and the black colour to the hairs is imparted by boiling the duly combed jute with Harde, Catechu (Kattha) and certain herbs. Nowadays of course readymade hairs are available. Thus the idol consists mostly of natural inputs. Therefore, this idol is more eco-friendly than the POP idols that are being made in other parts of the country. It may also be noted that except for the faces (which are also made of mud) whole of the idol is made by hand and dies are not used. This is a traditional art, and specialized by some families who are doing this work for generations. Luckily, as the number of poojas and requirement of idol is ever increasing, this art is not a dying art and actually new artists are getting added to this profession every year.

Idol Making Process Durga Puja | UdaipurBlog

The format of the idol which is being worshipped during this Durga Pooja ceremony is known as “Mahishasur Mardini Roop” i.e. the roop or form, which Maa Durga adopted for vanquishing and ultimately killing “Mahishasur”, who was one of the most powerful asur (evil power) of all times. It is said that when “Mahishasur” became so powerful that even the Gods (Devtas] started getting tormented by him, all the Gods contributed their powers and created this “Mahishasur Mardini Roop” and in that form, duly fortified with the strength of various Gods, Maa Durga annihilated “Mahishasur”. This format of Maa Durga therefore is known as “Shakti Roop of Maa Durga” and in this roop, Maa Durga  has ten hands, each wielding a special weapon known as ayudh, which were contributed by various different Gods.

Alongwith the main idol of Maa Durga, riding a lion and seen as killing “Mahishasur”, there are other idols namely “Ganesh”,  “Maha Laxmi”, “Maha Saraswati” and ”Kartik”. Each of these idols are manifestations of certain virtues. Lord Ganesh is manifestation of wisdom, Maha Laxmi Ji is manifestation of wealth, Maha Saraswati Ji is manifestation of learning and Kartik Ji is the manifestation of administration/organization. If the whole idol is perceived with this viewpoint, it would very clearly covey the message that if one wants to overcome evil powers (whether external or internal) one would need to have integrated and concentrated physical power (Maa Durga herself); wisdom (Ganesh ji); financial resources (Maha Laxmi Ji); learning (Maha Saraswati ji) and administration/organization (Kartik Ji). This reasserts the position that this Pooja teaches a method by which any person can overcome the vices by augmenting his physical powers, wisdom, wealth, learning and administrative capacity.

Durga Idols | UdaipurBlog

The Pooja starts from Shashti (sixth day) and continues upto Dussera. It is said that on completion of the Pooja, Raam was able to win over and kill Ravan, and that is the reason why completion of the Shree Shree Durga Pooja coincides with the Ravan-Kumbhkarna-Meghnath effigy burning.

Bindu Bhawan Durga Puja | UdaipurBlog

The most important Pooja during the whole Durga Pooja ceremony is “Sandhi pooja”. This pooja is to be performed within a time of 48 minutes. These 48 minutes are carved out of “Ashtami tithi” and “Navami tithi” – 24 minutes from the end of Ashtami and 24 minutes from the beginning of Navami – these 48 minutes constitute Sandhi Pooja time. It is said that during this time “Mahishasur” was killed by Maa Durga, because “Mahishasur” had a boon that he will not be killed in any “tithi”. Sandhi Pooja therefore is of immense importance, because the whole purpose of vanquishing “Mahishasur” was achieved during this brief span on 48 minutes when there was no tithi in particular. The sandhi pooja is to be commenced, performed and completed within these 48 minutes, and there is every attempt to ensure that there is no lapse during this pooja.

Balidaan or sacrifice is a part of every days’ pooja. While sacrifice of goat or buffaloes used to be offered very commonly in the past, nowadays normally Balidaan of sugarcane, gourd (petha) and banana [jointly known as ‘bali’] is offered. However, still in some places sacrifice of goat is being offered. There are four balidaans during the Pooja – each after completion of the poojas of Saptami, Ashtami, Navami and of Sandhi Pooja. It is essential that the “Bali” is cut by one stroke of the weapon.

The Durga Pooja ceremony ends with immersion of the idol of Maa Durga in the water – in lakes, rivers, sea etc. . Since the idol is made of mostly bio-degradable items, it does not pollute the water resources. The immersion ceremony is followed by each greeting  the other and touching the feet of elders and obtaining their blessings. Eating of sweets is a part of each such ceremony!

Visarjan | UdaipurBlog

It is also considered by most of the Bengalis, specially ladies, that Maa Durga comes to the earth during this time, as a married daughter comes to visit her parents once in a year, and therefore everyone wants to offer the best offerings that he or she can, to Maa during this pooja. Similarly after immersion (visarjan) , ladies are quite sad and many weep when the idol of Maa Durga is taken away for visarjan. Therefore, it is again reiterated that this is not just a religious ceremony but a social festival in which everyone gets emotionally involved.  This probably is a time in the life of every Bengali, when every one tries to forget his woes and misfortunes and tries to be happy and enjoy the occasion. This festival is therefore an in-built aspect of the life of every Bengali and in whichever part of the world he may be during these days, he would always wish to be in the Pooja atmosphere, with his near and dear ones, at least during these few days. Probably Maa also comes down to the earth during this time – because God is nothing but a manifestation of the devotion that is contained in everyone’s heart !!!

Durga Pooja: Following an Eco-Friendly Tradition

We all see too many colorful idols around us at the time of Navratri, Ganesh Chaturthi, etc. But a really true fact behind all of them is the concern to our ecology. Now a day the idols are made from Plaster of Paris (PoP), which get a nice finish due to the easy and handy spray paint, distinct shine, and easy for mass productions, as the PoP rapid hardening material, as well as casted in moulds.

But an utter truth behind the scene is that the PoP idols do nothing but harm our environment and ecosystem. As after every festival of Ganesh Chaturthi, or the Durga Pooja, the idols are immersed in water body on the last day, Plaster of Paris does not dissolve easily in water and hence the idol floats on water after immersion. Since the idol is not immersed properly, in a way it amounts to dishonouring the deity. Talking about the health factors, PoP idols may take anywhere between several months to years to fully dissolve. In addition, when chemical paints are used to decorate the idols, these paints contain heavy metals such as mercury and lead, which seep into the water as the idol dissolves. Seems I need not elaborate more on the harm that it may cause to our health, as the same water is used for consuming by people of our city.

Durga Puja | UdaipurBlog
Idols being Prepared at Bang Samaj, Udaipur

The Bengali Community, sets forth an example of following a tradition from long time, which is eco-friendly and doesn’t harm the environment. The Bengalis celebrate the Durga Pooja primarily at four places in the city, which I have already mentioned in a post few days back. Special artists and sculptors are called every year from Kolkata, situated thousands of miles away, who spend many weeks in Udaipur, and create very beautiful idols of Goddess Durga with all the bio-degradable material like mud, chaff, jute, bamboos etc. Even the colours they use are water colours. So the water where the idol is immersed neither gets polluted nor it is an environmental hazard to immerse the idol in the lakes.

“I am indeed concerned for the safety of lakes. The idols made of PoP do not dissolve in water and thus pose serious problem for the lakes. Our family has been celebrating Duga Puja in this city more than five decades ago at Bindu Bhavan, but we follow the same traditions for rituals as well as preparation of idols, as was followed since 1956. The sculptors we call from West Bengal for the same purpose put in lots of efforts and spend a lot of time in carving out each and every minute detail of the idols, which is impossible to do with the PoP idols, as it hardens too fast. Hence mud is the primary constituent of the idols prepared. Putting this on record is essential, because every year the question comes up whether the idol should be allowed to be immersed in the lake or not.”

-Apurva Bhattacharya

Bindu Bhawan

 

“We have been celebrating Durga Pooja since past 20 years, and we have always been celebrating according to the traditions. It is always an idol made from mud which is worshipped, and we spend a major portion of our annual Pooja Budget for idols itself, to ensure that they are eco-friendly.  People must learn to preserve their environment, and shall take an oath to avoid immersing the idols made from PoP in our lakes. PoP idols must not be immersed, or shall be sprinkled with water and kept.”

-Dipankar Chakravarty

President, Bangali Kalibadi Society

We all must learn a lesson from the community, and must take considerable steps to preserve our environment. Afterall we never own our nature, but we owe it.

[Pictures] Durga Puja 2011: Celebration by the Bengali Community began today

Heartiest Greetings on the occasion of Navratri! Today is the 6th day of the Navratri, and as many of you all might know, the Bengali community begin their celebration of the year long awaited festival, Durga Pooja from today. In Udaipur, this occasion is being celebrated from more than 5 decades by the people from Bengali community who are proud residents of this wonderful City of Lakes.

I, being a Bengali, remain too excited for the arrival of the season throughout the year. And now when the season has arrived, the adrenaline rush is to the extreme, and so is the enthusiasm and happiness of all the Bengalis. The celebration will continue till the 9th day of Navratri, followed by Visarjan on the day of Dusshera, or Vijaya Dashmi.

For the first day, I bring you few clicks from the prime locations of celebration of Durga Pooja in Udaipur by the Bengali community. Every idol carved magnificently, every decoration was just spectacular. Do not miss to witness the culture and see the holy idols in the season of Navratri.  There’s still a lot more coming from your very own UdaipurBlog.com on the occasion of Navratri, so stay tuned.

I would also like to wish you on behalf of Team UdaipurBlog.com a very  ‘Happy Navratri‘ and may Goddess Durga shower her blessings on all of us 🙂

Pictures From Bang Samaj, Bhupalpura

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Pictures From Bindu Bhawan, Ashok Nagar

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Pictures From Swarnkar Samiti, Town Hall

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Pictures From Hiran Magri Sec. 4

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Udaipur celebrated Jal-Jhulni Ekadashi with great Enthusiasm

According to the Hindu calendar, Gyaras, or Ekadashi is basically, the 11th day of each waxing (Shukla Paksha ) and waning moon (Krishna Paksha).  Ekadashi is the Hindi word which stands for “eleventh. “Ekadashi Upvaas, Vrata or Fasting is considered very important & beneficial for all Hindus, specially women. “Upvaas” means Up – Vaas i.e., to stay close to God. The purpose of fasting is to experience peace & bliss. Eating less enables the mind & body to function more effectively. Hindus observe 24 11th-day fasts during the course of the Hindu year, although some are more important than others. One of them is Jal Julni Ekadashi. Each Ekadashi is held in honor of a different Hindu legend and has specific religious duties associated with it.

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This ekadashi, known as Jal-Jhulni Gyaras, or Jal-Jhulni Ekadashi, like all other festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm on the land of Maharanas i.e. Mewar. In Udaipur, different processions start from the various parts of the city and end at one point i.e. Gangaur Ghat where people use to swing the deities of Lord Krishna in child form(Baal Gopal) in the lake pichola. These procession are called Ram Revdies.

Here are a few clicks by Mujtaba showing this year’s celebration of Jal Jhulni Gyaras in Udaipur

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Edited By: Prasun Bannerjee