A wordy Wednesday post this time, that is rightly intended to provide a context to my #ww photo of the week. So, without further ado, I’m sharing my image below. This is followed by a wordy-ish post talking about why this is also my favourite time of the year.
The Mother Goddess Durga flanked on Her left by Saraswati and Kartik and on Her Right by Ganesh and Lakshmi.
In Bengal, the advent of autumn brings along with it a slight nip in the air. As soft fleecy clouds gently glide across the azure sky, the fields get livened by the beautiful Kaash blooms on the sides and the ground lies strewn with the lusciously fragrant Shiuli petals everywhere.
For the Bengali community the world over, autumn means celebration, and the Mother of them all is Durga Puja— which augurs the arrival of goddess Durga and the resounding beats of the dhak and the dhol with men, women and children dressed in fine clothes, ready to usher in the biggest festival of the year – the celebration and worship of Goddess Durga over the next few days known as Durgotsav or Sharadotsav.
Although all Hindus worship the Goddess Durga in Her different avatars, to a Bengali, this festival is evocative of some of the finest memories of celebration with the near and dear ones, when the goddess is said to return to Earth—her ‘maternal home’ all the way from Mount Kailash, accompanied by her four children—Ganesh, Kartik, Lakshmi and Saraswati. Starting from the first day of Navratri known as Mahalaya, the festival reaches its peak on the sixth day with Maha Shashti, to be followed by the seventh day (Maha Saptami), the eighth day (Maha Ashtami)—which is said to be the most important day of the festival and the ninth day (Maha Navami), finally culminating on Vijaya Dashami (the tenth day of Victory) when the goddess returns to her abode in the Himalayas.
Over the years, Durga Puja has transcended the boundaries of religion and is today, heralded as one of India’s largest outdoor festivals—one that also gives the Bengali diaspora an opportunity to showcase their art and culture in the various cities across the world.
Right now, in the city of Bangalore where I live, artists are busy adding final touches to the idols readying for the D-Day. I am super excited as is my 15 yo teen and we are keen to take along my 77-year-old mum who is frail at the moment but not quite the kind who will see us disappointed, so hopefully, she will join us for a day or two of pandal-hopping, IF her health permits! The three days of rituals and elaborate ceremonies are usually followed by festive lightings in the evenings with crowds thronging the arenas with major attractions which include live performances by well-known artistes and rows of food stalls serving popular street food as well as the ever so popular Bengali delicacies and sweets.
I’m eager to go pandal-hopping, the vision of the Goddess Durga in her ‘abhay mudra‘ —the fearless pose (as you see in the pic above), fuelling my reserves every now and then, reminding me that I am part of Her Universal spirit too.
The idols, as you know, will come and go every year, but the Primordial Spirit of the Divine Mother lives within us forever.
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