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West Bengal celebrates Mahanavami
Published on 17 Oct. 2010 12:29 AM IST
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Thousands of people poured onto the streets of Kolkata, community feasts were organised and celebrations were held across West Bengal Saturday on Mahanavami, the fourth day of the Durga Puja festivities.
Long queues were seen at several big-ticket puja pandals since early morning. Those who went for a whole night party on the night of Mahashtami Friday, cut short their sleep and hit the roads to seize every moment of the puja spirit, in the cities, towns and villages.
Durga Puja, the five-day autumn festival beginning with ‘Shashthi’ and ending with ‘Dashami’ (Dussehra), is being organised with grandeur at the community puja pandals (marquees), where idols of the goddess and her four children are installed and worshipped amid much fanfare. Mahanavami, or the ninth lunar day, is the concluding day of Durga Puja rituals. The main Mahanavami puja began after the end of Sandhi Puja held at the confluence of Mahashtami (eighth lunar day) and Mahanavami around Friday midnight.
The idols will be immersed in the rivers and ponds on Mahadashami Day Sunday.
According to Kolkata Police sources, Durga Puja is being celebrated at more than 3,000 venues this year.
The Ponchish Palli Sarbojonin Durgostav Samiti decked up its pandal in multi-hued decor, a thatched roof and diyas along the walls, attracting a large number of devotees.
Lake Gardens People’s Association, which gave out a ‘green’ message with terracotta idols and murals painted with vegetable dye, was also a big draw.
Apart from the community pujas, goddess Durga is traditionally worshipped in the homes of a large number of families, who were once landlords. Among them are the pujas at the houses of erstwhile zamindar families of Hatkhola Dutta Bari, Chatubabu Latubabu, the Lahas and the house of the Mullicks of Bhowanipore.
Several housing complexes in and around Kolkata also organise Durga Puja.
After last year’s economic recession, which forced Puja committees to slash their budgets, the recent turnaround has community feasts and ‘bhog’ (community feasts of food items offered to the Goddess first) which comprises a wide range from luchis (poori bread) and khichuri, vegetable items, to fish, chicken and even mutton.
Goddess Durga, the slayer of the demon Mahishashur, sits astride a lion and wields an array of weapons in her 10 hands.
Mythology says that the puja celebrates the annual descent of the goddess accompanied by her four children Ganesh, Kartik, Lakshmi and Saraswati on earth to visit her parents. She stays for four days to eradicate all evil from the earth before returning to her husband Lord Shiva at Kailash on Dashami.

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