Durga Puja begins today

durga-puja-hinduThe five-day Durga Puja, the largest religious festival of Hindus, begins today with Mahashashthi.

This year Mohanabami, alongside Bijoya Dashami, the day the idols are immersed, will be celebrated on October 3. However, Puja organisers in Dhaka have decided to immerse the idols on October 4.

Around 28,600 altars have been set up in the country, including 221 in Dhaka. Compared to last year, the numbers have increased by around 800 and nine respectively.

Bangladesh Puja Udjapon Parishad stated that miscreants attacked and vandalised at least 23 altars in 14 districts although law enforcers had claimed that adequate security measure were in place.

“Five mandaps (altars) in Kishoreganj came under attack on September 18,” the parishad President Kajal Devnath told The Daily Star.

Mohanagar Sarbojonin Puja Committee at a press conference yesterday demanded sufficient security measures, uninterrupted electricity and water supply, colourful decorations on government buildings, including Gono Bhaban, Bangabhaban and Nagar Bhaban; adequate measures for the smooth immersion of idols and announcing a holiday at all educational institutions.

The central altar in the capital is at Dhakeshwari National Temple. Large ones have also been built at Jagannath Hall of Dhaka University, the Ramkrishna Mission, Ramna Kali Mondir, Tanti Bazar, Shankhari Bazar, Bangla Bazar, Banani and Dhanmondi.

With Mahalaya, marking the homecoming of Durga, having been observed a week ago, today’s celebration will begin early morning with Bodhon or the invocation. Throughout the day devotees will pray for her appearance on earth again after a year and seek forgiveness.

Mahasaptami will be celebrated tomorrow followed by Mahashtami on Thursday before Mohanabami and Bijoya Dashami are observed.

According to Hindu scriptures and the Bangla almanac, Durga Puja is observed in sync with the moon’s movement. The five-day festivity and prayers begin on the sixth day of the full moon and ends on the tenth day or Bijoya Dashami.

Durga, the slayer of demon Mahishashur, is usually depicted on the back of a lion holding 10 weapons in her 10 hands.

At the invocation and supplication of the devotees, she descends on earth this year on a boat, stays for the next four days and leaves on a palanquin after slaying all evil forces and blessing the devotees.

Accompanying her are her children Ganesh, Kartik, Lakshmi and Saraswati.

Source: The Daily Star