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  Traditional Durga Puja  

The origin of Durga Puja dates back to the days of the Mughal Empire in the 16th century. Worship of the Goddess Durga had taken a social turn since the bygone days.The large scale celebrations, the grandeur, and the fan-fare were a part of the Puja even when Raja Kangshanarayan of Taherpur or Bhabananda Mazumdar of Nadiya organized the first Sharadiya Durgotsab in the year 1606. Soon Durga Puja became the great annual festival bringing family, friends and neighbours

together. It became a religious extravaganza among the Babu's of Bengal. Though it had become the yardstick simply to measure the supremacy of one over the other, there were traditional household Durga Pujas too, which gained prominence because of their deep devotional fervor.Some of the significant traditional Durga Puja were

Sabarno Raychoudhury's family Durga Puja at Barisha, Gobinda Ram Mitra's of Kumartuli, Krishnadeb of Sobhabazar, Mitra Family of Chorbagan, Srimani family of Sukia street, traditional Durga Puja at Rani Rashmoni's residence and Kaliprasanna Singha's household Durga Puja.
Cultural shows like "Jatra", Puppet Dance, "Kobi Gaan", "Kirtan", Magic Shows were put up to enhance the attraction of the festival. Some of the traditional household Durga Puja even dates back to 200-250 years. Samir Dasgupta's household Durga Puja commenced in 1839, in Batajor village in Barishal in Bangaldesh. The tradition still continues now in Srimani Para Lane residence in Baranagar. Sacchidananda Chatterjee continues with his 200 yr. old household Durga Puja at his residence in Brahma Samaj Road. The 250 yrs. old Durga Puja in Dhar family residence in Bikrampur of undivided Bengal still continues in Ashoknagar.The Ghosh family's household Durga Puja started in

Bikrampur's Hasara village in Bangladesh in 1775 A.D. and still continues till date in their Bagbazar residence.
In an incident, which changed the astonishingly heartless rituals of sacrifice in the Dhar family, some 250 yrs. ago needs to be mentioned. Kashinath Dhar was the zamindar of Bikrampur then. He performed Durga Puja at his residence with full traditional rituals.

Ashtami was the sacrifice day. It was during the time when human sacrifice was common and was considered the most important part of the Puja. On its success depended the satisfaction of the Devi. It was on this day the 'Kharna' (weapon used to sacrifice) landed on the child's head, left the child unharmed. With repeated attempts the

result remained the same. There was a commotion and when the news reached the zamindar, he fell unconscious.

On regaining his consciousness he tearfully prayed the Goddess asking her the reason for the omen. Durga then appeared before him and asked him to stop sacrifices and told him she had placed her hand over the child's neck to protect it and has wiped her hand in a cloth, which is behind the idol. On hearing this the zamindar rushed to the mandap and found the blood stained cloth. Henceforth, sacrifice was stopped in the Dhar family Puja. Durga Puja took a complete social turn when it started being organised by the common people. The word "Baroyari" is derived from "Baro" and "Yaar" ie. a group of twelve friends. Guptipara in Hoogly was the first place in Bengal where the idea of "Baroyari" or "Sarbojanin" puja was concieved in the year 1790. It took 120 yrs. for "Baroyari" Durga Puja to reach Calcutta. The first organiser of "Baroyari" Durga Puja in Calcutta was "Sanatan Dharmatsahini Sabha".
Overwhelming enthusiasum and participation of common people increased the number of "Baroyari" Durga Puja through out the state.
Today we find numerous community pujas with huge funds, towering pandals and lavish décor but sadly losing the sanctity of the whole affair.

 
 
Traditional Durga pujas in Bengali households
( inside Calcutta )
  Traditional Durga puja of OUTSIDE CALCUTTA
 
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