Durga Puja : The Festival Celebrating Womanhood
- December 21, 2020
- By Arun Ramamurthy
Goddess Durga, is worshipped as a warrior goddess, whose image centres around combating demonic forces that threaten peace and prosperity. Durga is depicted as a Goddess riding a lion or tiger, with many arms each carrying a weapon. She has a significant following all over India, Bangladesh and Nepal and is particularly venerated in India's eastern states such as West Bengal, Odisha, Jharkhand, Assam and Bihar. The festival of Durga Puja is celebrated during Navratri after the spring harvest season.
The festival of Durga Puja goes back the 16th century where the landlords (zamindars) of West Bengal would worship the Goddess with much devotion. The history of the community puja is more recent and started perhaps in 1910 when the Puja was performed in Calcutta with full public contribution and public participation.
During Durga Puja, the people of Bengal, regardless of age, caste, class or gender, join in welcoming the Goddess with love, devotion and joy. The streets of Kolkata are filled with 'pandal-hopping pilgrims' dressed in the best possible way they can. Durga Puja is a continuous carnival of lights, colour, music and dance, a festival which celebrates womanhood and the worship of the supreme source of power - Maa Durga.
Coins commemorating this powerful Goddess have been minted by the Government of India as a commemorative issue in 2012.