Durja Puja: Maha Saptami celebrated, Maha Ashtami tomorrow
Maha Saptami, the second day of the five-day Durga Puja, the biggest religious festival of the Bangalee Hindu community and a few small ethnic groups, was celebrated today with enthusiasm and religious fervor across the country.
The Maha Ashtami will be celebrated tomorrow and all devotees would offer anjali (worship) at temples throughout the country.
A festive mood is being witnessed among the devotees irrespective of ages marking the festival.
Special sessions were held at different puja mandaps where devotees offered prayers before the goddess Durga seeking peace and prosperity.
The five-day annual celebration started with unveiling of the face of the deity and Kalparambho on Maha Shasthi on Saturday and it will end on October 5 with the immersion of the idols on the day of Bijaya Dashami.
Recitation of verses from the Holy Chandi, blowing of conch shells and beating of dhak-dhols at temples and pandals are being continued from Maha Shashti which will continue till the immersion of idols of goddess Durga on October 5.
The incarnation (Bodhon) of the goddess Durga happened on Friday evening ahead of the puja on the day of Maha Panchami.
Swami Premananda Maharaj of Ramkrishna Mission and Ramkrishna Math, Dhaka told BSS that goddess Durga will come to earth (martyalok) from heaven (Kailash) riding on elephant which signifies, as per mythology, that the earth will witness natural disasters like storms but production of grains and crops will increase.
Goddess Durga will return to heaven (Kailash) riding on boat which signifies the world will get blessings.
According to the schedule of Durga Puja of Ramkrishna Mission, Maha Ashtami puja will be held tomorrow at 9.30am and Kumari Puja at 11am, Sandhi Puja at 4.44pm and it will be done before 5.32 pm.
Maha Nabami Puja will be held on the fourth day on October 4 at 6.30am and offering of pushpanjali or anjali at 10.30am.
On the final day of Bijaya Dashami, puja will begin at 6.30am, pushpanjali at 8am and puja completion and Darpan Bisharjan will be held by 8.50am.
The five-day festival will end with immersion of idols of goddess Durga and her offspring – Ganesha, Karitik, Laxmi and Saraswati – and devotees will receive Shantijol (sacred water from where deities are immersed).
The Mahalaya, the auspicious occasion heralding the advent of goddess Durga, was celebrated on September 25.
Idol makers and artisans readied idols for Durga Puja at puja mandaps.
Generally, the idols are made diligently and methodically by the artisans to create exquisite pieces of artistry.
Durga Puja is being celebrated at 32,168 mandaps across the country this year including 241 in the capital, according to Bangladesh Puja Udjapan Parishad.
Earlier, the parishad in a press briefing informed that the number of puja mandaps was 32,118 across the country in the previous year.
Parishad’s President JL Bhowmik said volunteers will work at every puja mandaps round the clock during the five-day Durga Puja to help the law enforcement agencies to avert any untoward situation.
In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the number of puja mandaps decreased slightly in the previous year but this year the number increased.
In the capital Dhaka, the main puja mandaps are at Dhakeshwari National Temple, Ramkrishna Mission and Math, Kalabagan, Banani, Shakhari Bazar and Ramna Kali Mandir.
Major divisional cities, including port city Chattogram, Rajshahi, Khulna and Sylhet and district towns including Faridpur, Dinajpur, Jashore, Kushtia, Satkhira, are also witnessing massive celebration of Durga Puja.
Puja shopping also got momentum in the last week ahead of Puja as major markets and malls were crowded with customers.
Durga Puja signifies the birth of Durga with the blessings of gods, as a collective energy, to fight the demon king Mahishasura.
Exquisitely crafted and decorated life-size clay idols of the goddess Durga depicting her slaying the demon Mahishasura have been set up in temples and Durga Puja mandaps ahead of the celebration.
These idols are being worshiped for five days and will be immersed in the river on the fifth day. The puja is performed in temples, homes and temporary mandaps.
The celebrations also include other major deities of Hinduism such as goddess Lakshmi (goddess of wealth, prosperity), Saraswati (goddess of knowledge and music), Ganesha (god of good beginnings) and Kartikeya (god of war).
Along with Hindu community in Bangladesh and West Bengal, Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar and Assam states in India, and several ethnic groups, including Tripura, Hajong, Banai, Patra, Koch, Barman and Mahato, largely celebrate the Durga Puja.