Devotees in West Bengal celebrate Mahanavami

October 8th, 2008 - 7:23 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Oct 8 (IANS) Festivities reached a crescendo, as thousands of people resplendent in their finest attire swarmed the streets Wednesday to visit different Durga Puja pandals celebrating Mahanavami across West Bengal.The community puja pandals or marquees in the state drew huge crowds, as the young and the old savoured every moment of the puja spirit, partaking bhog - community feasts of food items offered first to the goddess - and meeting friends and relatives.

“We’ve decided to go out and spend the entire day with my friends. We have a plan to dine out at some Bengali restaurant and then we’ll visit some pandals which we’d missed in the past three days,” said Asim Dutta, a college student in Kolkata.

He said: “Some of the marquees like Suruchi Sangha, Behala Natun Dal, Dum Dum Park Tarun Sangha and Ballygunge Pally Sarbojanin were really very good in terms of decoration and ambience. I think most of them were winners of several awards.”

Mahanavami, or the ninth lunar day, is the concluding day of Durga Puja rituals. The main Mahanavami puja began after the end of Sandhi Puja held at the conjunction of Mahashtami, eighth lunar day, and Mahanavami.

In Hindu mythology, Goddess Durga killed two demons, Chand and Mund, at the sandhi or confluence of Mahashtami and Mahanavami.

A number of devotees from the non-Bengali communities in West Bengal also observed Mahanavaratri during the auspicious occasion.

The Chaltabagan puja pandal in north Kolkata attracted hundreds of people, who appreciated innovative artefacts.

The marquee was made of metal wire mesh, a non-inflammable material. The puja was celebrated there in a completely eco-friendly atmosphere by installing hi-tech gadgets like heat sensors and smoke detectors.

The organisers of Behala Natun Dal in South East Kolkata modelled their pandal on typical old mansions in the northern part of the city. A dilapidated red-brick zamindar house, the structure with a traditional courtyard, false balconies, ornate grills and chandeliers exuded old-world charm.

At Suruchi Sanga in Alipore, the enchanting beauty of Assam was brought out with the melody of Bihu songs, and by presenting a synthesis of the three main streams of Hindu religion, Shaiva, Shakta and Vaishnava, that is found across the northeastern state.

Also on display were the cultures of various tribes of Assam like Mising, Deuri, Rabha, Mech, Hajong, Dimasa and Reming.

The marquee of the Kalitala Sporting Club in the eastern pockets of Kolkata was inspired by an ancient West African mud mosque in Mali, one of the world heritage sites, built by the Dogon tribe. The pandal was developed with plaster-of-Paris and jute structure pulling a huge crowd on the festive days.

Goddess Durga, the slayer of the demon Mahishasur, is lion-borne and wields an array of arms in her 10 hands.

Mythology has it that the Puja celebrates the annual descent of the goddess, accompanied by her four children Ganesh, Kartik, Lakshmi and Saraswati, on earth to visit her parents. She stays for four days to eradicate all evil from the earth before returning to her husband Lord Shiva at Kailash on Dashami that falls on Thursday this year.

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