Goddess Durga is worshiped especially in West Bengal. According to Hinduism, Goddess Durga is a symbol of female dynamism and Destroyer of demons. Who hold the infinite power of the universe and said to be as mother of the Universe.
Goddess Durga, wife of Lord Shiva, is called by many other names, such as Parvati, Ambika and Kali. She has two sons, Ganesha and Karttikeya, and two daughters Lakshmi and Sarashawti. Goddess Durga depicted as having ten arms, riding on a lion, carrying weapons and a lotus flower, maintaining a meditative smile.
Durga Puja in India: Traditionally, Durga Puja is a Hindu festival celebrated during the month of September or October in India. In 2018, Durga Puja will start on Sunday, 14th October, 2018 and will continue till Friday, 19th October, 2018. The festival Durga Puja specially is celebrated in West Bengal surrounding the capital city of Kolkata or in Bengali communities of other states. Dussera or Navaratri is the similar festival of Durgapuja celebrated rest part of India except eastern India.
Celebration Date of Durga Puja, 2018
9th October, 2018 (Monday) - Mahalaya
14th October, 2018 (Sunday) - Maha Panchami (Panchami Puja or Skandamata Puja)
15th October, 2018 (Monday) - Maha Shasthi (Katyayani Puja, Bilva Nimantran, Akal Bodhon, Amantran and Adhivas)
16th October, 2018 (Tuesday) - Maha Saptami (Kalaratri Puja, Navpatrika or Kolabou Puja)
17th October, 2018 (Wednesday) - Maha Ashtami (Durga Ashtami, Kumari Puja and Sandhi Puja)
18nd October, 2018 (Thursday) - Maha Navami and Durga Balidan
19th October, 2018 (Friday) - Vijaya Dashami (Durga Visarjan and Sindoor Utsav)
Brahma, the leader of god and goddess, had given Mahishasura (an inhuman force/demon) the power not to be defeated by a man or a God. So, Mahishasura had unleashed a reign of terror on earth, heaven and the nether worlds, and he could not be defeated by any man or god, anywhere.
Hearing this Vishnu, Shiva and all of the gods became very angry and beams of fierce light emerged from their bodies. The combined energy of all Gods was appeared as power of infinity or the goddess Durga. Each of her weapons was given to her by various gods: Rudra's trident, Vishnu's discus, Indra's thunderbolt, Brahma's amendable, Kuber's Ratnahar, etc.
After this Goddess Durga had announced battle with Mahishasur, Durga fight for a long time and killed Mahishasur.
Mahalaya accompanies in the atmosphere of Durga Puja. The countdown for the Durga Puja begins from Mahalaya. It is only from the day of Mahalaya that the preparation for the Durga Puja reaches the final stage. This year Mahalaya is held on 19th September, 2017 (Tuesday). In 2018, the Mahalay will be held on 9th October, 2018 (Monday).
The day of Mahalaya is also the day of remembrance. On this day, people offer Tarpon in memory of their deceased forefathers. Devotees and worshipers buy clothes and sweets to offer to their forefathers in their nearest river. Tarpon is to be performed in empty stomach. After offering tarpon, people eat at the same place.
The preparations for the festival are done way in advance as beautiful Pandals (temple) are build in different areas of the city these are mainly community Pujas, which are mainly financed by the local people or sponsorship from big corporate houses. Even the idol making also starts way in advance.
The celebration lasts for five days starting from Maha Shashti (the sixth day) and ends with Bijoya Dashami (the tenth day). The first day of the celebration starts with Bodhon on Maha-Shashti, which is like welcoming Goddess Durga and ends with immersing the idols in the nearby rivers, lakes and seas on the evening of Dashami.
According to Hinduism on this day Goddess Durga arrives to the mortal earth from her heavenly residence with her children. Devotees bring her idol to the place of worship or Pandle. Unveiling the face of the idol is the main ritual on this day. Kalaparambho, the ritual performed before the beginning of the Puja precedes Bodhon, Amontron and Adibas.
Saptami is the first day of Durga puja. Nabapatrika is given a pre-dawn bath. This is an ancient ritual of worshiping nine types of plants. They are together worshiped as a symbol of the goddess. The main Saptami Puja follows Kalparambho and Mahasnan.
This is important day for worship to her. The day began with a recital of Sanskrit hymns in community Puja Pandals as thousands of devotees offered Anjali to the goddess. Worship of little girls (Kumari Puja) as the mother goddess was a special part of the rituals observed in a number of traditional and household Pujas.
This is the final day of Durga Puja. The main Navami Puja begins after the end of Sandhi Puja. The Navami Bhog is offered to the goddess.
On this day Goddess Durga return back to her heavenly residence. Devotees celebrate this day by immersing her idol in a nearby river or lake. Devotees offered a tearful farewell of the Goddess and arrange a grand send-off. The idols are carried in processions around the locality and finally are immersed in a nearby river or lake. Vijaya Dashami is an event celebrated all over the country.
The day of Durga's victory is celebrated as Vijayadashami (Bengali), Dashain (Nepali) or Dussehra (Hindi) - these words literally mean the Victory of Tenth day.
In North India, the tenth day, signifying Rama's victory in his battle against the demon, is celebrated as - gigantic straw effigies of Ravana are burnt in designated open spaces.
In Mysore Karnataka, she is worshipped as Chamundeshwari, the patron goddess of the city during Dussehra.
In Gujarat it is celebrated as the last day of Navaratri, during which the Garba dance is performed to celebrate the vigorous victory of Mahishasura-mardini Durga.
In Maharashtra Tulja Bhavani and Ambabai is worshipped as Mahishasur Mardini and is patron goddess of land. Bhavani is known as Tulaja, Amba, Renuka, Yamai, Saptshrungi, Jogai in different places of Maharashtra.