Durga Puja in Odisha; Celebration with a difference

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October 13

Durga Puja Celebration Odisha

Durga Puja or Dussehra is celebrated with much pomp and grandeur in India. It is almost like a mass festival in the states like West Bengal, Odisha, Bihar and Assam. But, the celebration is somehow different in Odisha in comparison to other States.  It is celebrated in (Sept-Oct) the Odia month of Aswin on Shukla Dashami. In other words, we can ascribe it that Durga Puja and Dasahara is celebrated on the tenth day of the bright fortnight of the month of Aswin.

People of the State wait months together with anxiety to witness the festival every year. In fact, People of Odisha, starts their preparation to celebrate the Puja days before date/day of Puja. Each household uses to have a Puja budget to spend during the festival. They earmark separate budget for buying new dresses, visiting puja mandapas and other places of interest, preparing delicious foods at home and going to different eateries/restaurants and hotels to have good food.

But, question is, when did it started in Odisha ? Whether it has its independent origin in state or we have borrowed the culture from some other regions ? It is still debatable.

Most people believe that, it is borrowed from other regions of the country, may be from Bengal. But, some mythological and historical evidences say, it has its origin in the State only.

According to Markandeya Purana,  the King of  Chaitra/Chedi  dynasty  Raja Suratha started  rituals  of  Durga Puja during 300 BC. The Chaitra dynasty belongs to Kalinga (modern Odisha).

The present form of worship of Durga with earthen idol in Odisha was started during the reign of Ganga King Chodaganga Dev in the 11th century at Puri. The earthen idol of Mahishamarddini Durga is known as Gosani and the Dussehra festival is known as Gosani Yatra. It is noteworthy that the co-worship of Mahishamarddini Durga with Madhava (Lord Jagannath) is prevalent from 11th century, Eastern Ganga dynasty period, in Puri.

Durga Puja is celebrated in Odisha, in Shakti Peethas (Temples of Goddesses) as well as in Mandapas/Pendals. Almost in all Shakti Peethas, it is being celebrated with strict rituals for 16 days i.e from Mulastami to Vijayadashami. In Pendals/Mandapas, it mostly begins on Shasti and ends on Vijayadashami.

Like Kolkata is famous for the grand celebration of Durga Puja in India, Silver City of Cuttack in Odisha, is also famous for Durga Puja in the state of Odisha.

People across the state throng to the city to witness Durga Puja. The city witnessed hundreds of Pujas Pendals during the Durga Puja and each Puja Pandal uses to have its own style of decoration and celebration. Some of Pandals decorate the Idol of Durga with ornaments made of Silver and in some parts gold even, which attract the devotees & visitors most. The entrance part or the gates of the pandals are being made with different concepts. They exhibit different famous palaces of India, different historical structures and many more, which became the discussion of the time.

It is said, Chaitanya Deva started Durga Puja at Binod Bihari temple presently known as Balu Bazaar. In the year 1512 to 1517 AD Chaitanya Deva had come to Cuttack, the capital of Gajapati Empire of Odisha and started the Durga Puja at Cuttack.

It is also discussed that, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, whose birthplace, is Cuttack had organized Durga puja with great pomp and show to organize youngsters in British India.

Navaratra is also famous in State.  People of Odisha observe this nine days ‘Navaratra’ with much devotion wishing the wellbeing of human beings. During this Navaratra, they worship nine deities (forms of Goddess Durga) like Shailaputree (Daughter of the Shaila i.e Himalaya Mountains, Brahmacharini or Tapaswini (She got Siva by Tapasya or meditation), Chandraghanta- ( Half-moon on her head),Kushmanda- Panikakharu or Kushmanda is given to the goddess as a symbol of sacrifice), Skandamata- She is the mother or mata of Skandamuni (Skanda, the name of a hermit and composer of Skanda Purana), Katyayani ( Khadgadharee) – She is holding a Khadga or Katyayan or sword on her hand, Kalaratri- She is the symbol of Kala or death, Mahagouree– Goddess Durga has got Siva (her Husband) by virtue of her meditation. While meditating her body has turned into Gaura or white complexion, Siddhidatri – Here Siddhi means wishes or Abhilashadatri means giver or fulfiller (one who fulfils the wishes).

 

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