Early morning, yesterday, I logged on to Facebook and just got super homesick. Actually this has been happening since the last four days and you can guess why from the title. Yes! Durga Puja just ended yesterday in India and this was my first ever Durga Puja away from home, away from family, without any ‘puja’ and without any pandal hopping. Durga Puja for me is the time of the year I look forward to more than my birthday and this time it was spent reminiscing old memories.
Since I went on a throwback ride this week, I would be sharing history of one of the grandest festivals of India, specifically East India. While a lot of temples in Bhubaneshwar, Odisha have evidences to support that Durga Puja happened in the temples of the state, the first recorded and verified record of Durga Puja comes from West Bengal. The first Durga Puja with elaborate statues is said to have been celebrated in the late 1500s by the landlords of Dinajpur and Malda but it wasn’t until 1790 when the family based celebrations transformed into community celebrations.
Twelve houses of in Hoogly, West Bengal, collected contributions from local residents and setup a Pooja pandal called Baro-Yaari Poojo. Later 1830’s Raja Harinath of Cossimbazar, performed the Durga Puja at his ancestral home in Murshidabad but also opened it to locals making the festival even more popular in an already Devi worshiping community.
None of us really think of history of a festival once we accept the Myth associated with it. But off late I have been exploring how some cultures adapt some festivals so much more than others. Okay, maybe my research thinking in my college now is getting to me but when I was searching about Durga Puja’s history some months back, I was actually surprised to find that the festival in Bengal is relatively new but was first celebrated in villages in Odisha.
Anyways, I think I have given enough history details for Durga Puja for a day. I am going back into the throwback mode and leaving you with a glimpse of Durga Puja, incase you guys also missed it like me.
If you did attend the Puja this time in some pandal somewhere or have done so in the past, please do let me know of your experiences in comments below.
I would leave you with some Dhuan Dance and Dhak