It’s the Sixth day of Navrathri today – Shashti. This day marks the celebration of Durga Puja or Pujo in the Eastern part of the country. Durga Puja is celebrated from the sixth day to the tenth day of the 9 day festival of Navrathri which begins after the No Moon day or Mahalaya Amavasya of the Tamil Month Puratasi or Ashwini month to other parts of the country.
My first Durga Puja experience was back in 2005 when me and my mom accidentally visited The Madras Kali Bari temple.We were passing by and were intrigued by the sound of drums or dholka from the temple I vividly remember the beautiful Durga idol and the priest dancing enthusiastically to the dholka or drums. For us South Indians, the sound of a conch being blown is typically associated with death. That was the first time I heard a conch being blown in a temple that too for festival. Those memories still bring a feeling of warmth.
After Eleven years I went back to that very temple for Durga Puja today. Maa Durga had finally invited me again. A lot has indeed changed. However, one thing remains the same – the divinely charged environment and the feeling of being at peace in spite the cacophony the crowd and the dholak together were orchestrating. A saint from Sri Ramakrishna Math unveiled the idol today. This was followed by the regular aarthi to Maa Kaali and then to to Maa Durga. A group of ladies danced to the dholak before they blew the conch while unveiling the statue. Having never been to the Eastern part of the country, today I had a feeling of being transported there. The temple was buzzing with Bengalis chatting away happily.A food counter was organized and traditional Bengali home made dishes were sold. I ended up buying Sondesh and Rasogulla. Sinful delight they were! No amount of workout tomorrow is going to be enough to compensate that!
Wishing my Bengali friends happy Pujo. May Maa Durga bestow all of us with happiness and good health. Signing off with some pictures I clicked.