Did you missed these…Inside Durga Pujo?

Inside Durga Pujo

If you’re a true Bengali at heart or just a mild enthusiast of the Bengali culture; there’s nothing better than Durga Pujo to decipher their festivities, because it is one festival that lies in the heart of all their other festivals. While you’re on your quest to be one with the vivid and vibrant Bengali culture, here is a list of some ‘must-watch’ things to look out for during the pujo season.


1. Pushpanjali

Every morning from Saptami (seventh day) till Dashmi (tenth day), people offer their prayers to the Gods and Goddesses by offering flowers (pushp) along with fruits, sweets and other things. The Pandit chants Sanskrit shloks and others repeat in unison as they read verses from the Durga Stuti. It is marvelling to watch hoards of people gather every morning, in beautiful ethnic clothes to give the anjali. After the anjali is over, prashad is served which consists of fruits and some sort of sweets.



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2. Dhunuchi Naach

Every evening aarti is followed by groups of enthusiastic men, women and sometimes even children who gather around the idol and dance to the beats of the dhaak with dhunuchi in their hands. Dhunuchi is an Indian incense burner traditionally made of earthenware. It is filled with the husk of coconuts and set afire, which creates the dhuno (smoke) which is then held on both hands and used as a prop in the dance worship of Goddess Durga. It is a unique style of dance and worship, practiced only in the Bengali culture and is a treat to watch as people of all age groups volunteer to dance and sometimes even competitions are held for the same. As the dhunuchi is very hot to handle, and the smoke affects the eyes; it is a task to dance with it and requires tremendous dedication and enthusiasm.



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3. Aarti

Aarti is a common Hindu religious ritual of worship where the Gods and Goddesses and offered prayers as the Pandits use a variety of things from camphor, peacock feather, wicks soaked in ghee, dhunuchi etc. for the same. Every evening’s aarti has special significance to the day and has variations accordingly. The aarti with the background of the dhaak and the shankh (conch) is a mesmerizing experience in itself. It is a very lively event to watch, and very intriguing too and one must take every opportunity to witness it.



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4. Sandhi Pujo

It is a time period between the end of Ashtami and the beginning of Navmi, and is considered extremely sacred in the Hindu culture. People fast without food or water all through the day until the time of the ceremony and then light diyas and often ask for their earnest wishes to be fulfilled. A collection of 108 Lotus flowers and 108 diyas is given to Goddess Durga during the short span of Sandhi pujo as an offering. It is a beautiful sight to witness the glistening of 108 diyas along with the people’s faces who have rested their faith in the hands of God to get their wishes fulfilled.



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5. Sindur Khela

Sindur Khela, literally meaning ‘vermillion game’, is a Bengali tradition where married women donning white sarees with red borders, the traditional Bengali attire, smear each other with sindur on Vijayadashami, which is the last day of the Durga Pujo. This usually takes place before the visarjan of the idols, and is considered to be a farewell to the Goddess where first sindur is applied to the forehead and feet of the Goddesses and then amongst each other, while exchanging sweets. A highly effervescent ritual, Sindur Khela makes for a photogenic festivity.



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These are few things that one must acquaint themselves with if they have an interest in the Bengali culture, and even otherwise these are some really interesting festivities for an outsider to witness and be a part of. 

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