Courtesy:The Times of India
Photo: For Representative Purpose
It’s a busy month for the Bengalis of Bengaluru. Durga Ma is on her annual sojourn, and she promises plenty of good times. From shopping to pandal-hopping, the calendar is clearly marked for the 10 days of festivities, when families, friends and communities come together to pray and eat in equal measure. There will be rosogollas in abundance and macher jhol (fish in gravy) for the true-blue Bong. With over 50 Durga Pujo pandals being readied across the city, Bengaluru will be get a feel of Bengal and its cultural extravaganza.
Agomon happens on the first day , when Durga Ma is welcomed through a ritual where a clay or copper pot is kept covered with a red cloth. Households offer puja to this pot till the ninth day and also do Chandi Paath.
Shasti marks the sixth day , when mothers offer special puja for the well-being of their children and apply a mix of curd and turmeric on their foreheads. That’s also the day when pandals open up for grand celebrations. A banana plant wrapped in a piece of cloth, signify ing the goddess herself, is bathed and kept beside the idols for puja.She is called the Kola Bou.
The days of pandal-hopping are what people look forward to the most. Dressed in their best, they step out with friends and families, to offer prayers and treat their taste buds to a host of Bengali delicacies served in stalls across venues.
On Ashtami, Sondhi Pujo is the main ritual and is held at a time when, according to the Bengali calendar, goddess Durga killed the Mahishasura (buffalo demon) after a ferocious battle in the Himalayas.
Navami is incomplete without Kumari Puja, where young girls’ feet are washed. They are then dressed like a goddess and showered with gifts and blessings.
Bijoya Dashami marks the 10th day of Durga Ustav, a day when married women smear vermilion on each other’s forehead and face in a ritual called Sindoor Khela, following which the idols are taken for immersion.