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Saturday, October 16, 2010

Mahanavami : Kolkata enjoys the special last day of Durga Puja

Kolkata, 16 October : Festive spirit overflowed on the last day of Durga Puja on Mahanavami in Kolkata.
As the night of 'Mahastami' dawned into 'Mahanavami', a feeling of sadness beginning to set in but the people tried to make most of the last day of Durga Puja. 'Navami' is the fourth day of the puja and there are several rituals associated with this day as well,making it all the more special and important one. The fourth day-'Mahanavami'-formally starts with 'Sandhi Puja' at midnight. Sandhi Puja that marks the inter-linking of 'Ashtami' (the third day of Puja) and Navami (the fourth day of Puja).

In the morning, after 'Mahanavami puja' and 'pushpanjali', 'maha aarti' was done performed for Goddess Durga and her four children-Lakshmi, Saraswati, Kartik and Ganesh with lighted lamps, flowers, incense sticks, holy water and other ingredients.
The main attraction of this day is public feast. Whether it's a community or a residential Puja, on Mahanavami doors are opened for lunches for all. Mainly hotch-potch (khichuri), various vegetarian curries, 'payesams' and sweets are served as Devi Durga's 'bhog-prasad'. As night sets in people dressed up in the best possible attires and start hopping from one 'pandal' to the other, celebrating the last night of festivity at its fullest. From North to South, people have queued in front of the beautiful 'pandals' to catch a glimpse of the beautifully decorated pandals and the goddess.

The themes of all these pandals have been innovative as well as different from the other one. In South Kolkata, one of the most recognized festival is of course 'Babu Bagan Club'. This year they have decorated their 'pandal' beautifully with wrought iron, computer peripherals and other items, while the goddess have been decked in an 'adivasi look'. The famous BosePukur Sitala Mandir has, however, created their 'pandal', based on the theme of 'Chakradhara'-story of the stars. The theme of 'childhood' can be seen by the devotees if they visit the beautiful 'pandal' of 'Jodhpur Park'. In the famous 'College Square' one will be able to see the world renowned 'Louvre Museum of Paris' is being replicated as the 'pandal'. But at the end of the day if someone feels tired after visiting so many 'pandals' he can easily visit the famous 'Maddox Square' 'puja pandal' in South Kolkata and relax over there. Truly, the ambience and the long 'adda-sessions' make the pandal all the more famous and attractive.
But at the end of the day it is 'Mahanavami' on Saturday, so the devotes will aim at enjoying the last day at its fullest so that this years puja remains on the memorable one for everyone. Photos : Dr Vivek M, Reuters, Arnab Dutta