Tuesday, October 7, 2008

At the Height of Puja Season

October 5th through 9th is the most popular time of the Puja season in West Bengal, a celebration of Durga Puja. The holiday is celebrated in neighborhoods around the city with the creation of very elaborate displays or "pandals." Walking around from pandal to pandal in your new Durga clothes is the thing to do, especially on the third and fourth nights of the festival.

From the website www.durga-puja.org, "Durga, in Sanskrit means 'She who is incomprehensible or difficult to reach.' Goddess Durga is a form of Sakti worshiped for her gracious as well as terrifying aspect. Mother of the Universe, she represents the infinite power of the universe and is a symbol of a female dynamism. The manifestation of Goddess Durga is said to emerge from Her formless essence and the two are inseparable."

Tonight we made our way to a neighborhood to take in the sights. After a quick ride on the metro for about 9 cents each way, we headed towards the music and lights. We had yet to see so many beautiful saris being worn in the streets - ones with gold and silver embroidery and reflective decoration to light up at night.

Photos from my favorite pandal of the night:

More posts on Durga Puja:
More Puja Photos
Tour of Kumartuli (where the idols are created) with Calcutta Walks
A Pandal of Generosity
Durga Drums
Closing the Puja Season

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