Wsst Bengal Durga Puja

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Durga Puja in west Bengal

Durga Puja Celebrations in West Bengal

The history of Durga Puja in West Bengal dates back to the Mughal era. History says that the first Puja was organised by Raja Kangshanarayan of Teherpur, in Nadia district and then Raja Jagatnarayan of Bhaduria followed soon after.

Other Hindu kings too came forward and the puja spread far and wide to Gour, Raj Mahal, Murshibad and Krishnagar. By the mid of 18th Century, this festival had become the occasion for the nouveaux riches Babus of Kolkata to flaunt their wealth.
They invited Europeans in every evening of their feast to grace their occasion. The British too Participated enthusiastically and had ‘Prasad’ and did Pranam, often lying Prostrate on the ground.
Some believe that the Puja of Saborno Chowdhury is the oldest puja in the city and it started in 1610 AD near Behala Sakher Bazaar area. The second oldest Durga Puja was the Puja of Govindaram Mitra of Kumartuli in the earlier 1800 AD. Next renowned Puja was the Puja of Sovbazaar Raj Bari.
But gradually collective enterprises replaced the individual initiativeaslo know as Baroyari Pujo. It was in 1790 AD that 12 Brahmin friends in Guptipara, Hooghly decided to institute Community Puja. Subscriptions were raised from neighbours. Thus started baro-yari Puja in Bengal which gained popularity in leaps and bounds.
Sarbojanin Durgotsab, as we know it today, started off much later in Kolkata, in the 1920s, with Shimlaya Byayam Samti and Bagbazar being the earliest.
At present hundreds of Pujas are held in the city’s lanes and bilanes. But Raja Ram Mohan Roy was the pioneer who promoted the idea of Durga Puja all over India, during the pre independence era.
Yet over the years, the ritualistic aspect has been reduced to a large extent in the community Pujas. The accent is clearly on Crowd Pulling capacity. Earlier Pandals would be draped in two coloured cloth spread over tarpaulin held up by a bare framework of bamboo poles.
Gradually it was the turn of the much brighter halogen lamps. Now of course there are metal lamps. Yet innovative pandals take the cake in terms of generating visitors’ volume.



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