Durga Puja

Durga Puja is one the greatest festivals of West Bengal. It is celebrated in the month of Ashwin, i.e. September - October. Goddess Durga is worshipped with great pomp and honour during Durga Puja. The city is decorated very beautifully during this time with varied designs of colourful lighting patterns. The festival of Durga Puja is celebrated for four days, i.e. Saptami, Ashtami, Navami and finally Dashami.

Goddess Durga is seen to have ten arms as a symbol of strength. In every one of her arms she has a weapon. Durga has two daughters Lakhsmi and Saraswati, both who stand on her right and left side. Lakshmi is the goddess of fortune and Saraswati is the goddess of learning. She has two sons Ganesh and Kartik as well. The right foot of goddess Durga is on the lion, while the left foot is on the lion. Goddess Durga is seen to have killed the demon with a spear.

On the occasion Durga Puja the city of Kolkata erupts in festivity and joy. Schools and colleges are closed during this time. Offices across West Bengal also remain closed for at least four days. The festival is a celebration of good over evil. Goddess Durga is a sign of strength or 'shakti' that wins over the demon. Several pandals are built in localities and neighbourhoods and in housing complexes where the goddess Durga is installed and worshipped. The pandals are decorated very beautifully with host of lights and designs. Crowds of people go 'pandal hopping' throughout the night and enjoy themselves. Restaurants, and food stalls stay open and cater to visitors throughout the night. The Young, old, men, women and children together celebrate this festival with great festivity. They wear new clothes to grace the occasion. The city erupts in joy during this time.

Durga Puja celebrations begin on Shasthi and continue throughout Saptami, Ashtami and Navami. On Ashtami people offer their offerings to the goddess and seek her blessings. Different pandals install very beautiful images of the goddess. The best pandal wins a prize as well. So, pandal organizers think of new themes while constructing a pandal to win prizes offered for their hard work. Durga Puja ends on Dashami when the goddess is immersed into the water. This brings an end to the celebrations and people including children are sad on the last day as the goddess leaves them to revisit them next year.

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