Mahalaya

The Durga Puja is celebrated in two different ways in Odisha. In Shakti peethas (temples of goddess) the Durga Puja is observed with proper rituals for 16 days known as Shodasa/Shohala dinatmaka, which starts from 7 days earlier to mahalaya called as Mulastami(The ashtami with Ardra nakshatra) and ends on Vijayadashami, dussehra. Goddess Durga is also worshipped by devotees in different pandals across the state. The pandals are decorated with beautiful decorative.

One of the most awaited festivals in the state of Bihar, besides Pratihar Shashthi (Chatha Puja), is indeed The Durga Puja. The festival must have beven started either by the biharis on their own accord or by influences from the neighbouring state of West Bengal, but certainly, Bihar has its own version of celebrating Durga Puja. Mahalaya Mahishasura Mardini The Ritualistic version though begins much earlier, nearly 6 days before, the actual Pandal hopping period lasts for only three days, namely, Saptami, Ashtami and Navami, making the entire festival last for 9 days. Dashmi, the tenth marks the conclusion. The construction of Puja Pandals take nearly three months, and preparations begin much earlier, from the month of July or August itself. The artisans try their best to give an experience of World Tour by constructing the Puja Pandals in the image of world famous monuments. The idol preparation is done with utmost sanctity. The establishment of the Holy Pitcher, called the Kalash Sthapana is done on the first day of the Bright half of the Ashwina Month.

A clay bed is established into which seeds of Barley are sown and in the centre of this bed, a Pitcher, full of water, jewels, and leaves, topped by a Coconut and draped by red cloth is established. The Pitcher itself is believed to be the representation of the universe, while the clay bed symbolises the agricultural fields. During the course of 9 days, the barley seeds spring out, which is believed to be an indicative of good harvest and prosperity. The Major Part of the entire Worship is the performance of the recitation of the Book, ‘Shri Durga Saptashati’ which is roughly translated as, ‘The Glory of Devi in Seven Hundred Verses’. The Clay image of Goddess Durga is Unveiled on the Day of Saptami. The Unveiling is done just as soon as a White Gourd is sacrificed in honour of Chandika. Nights are marked by Huge crowds thronging, seemingly aimlessly, in every direction of the road. While there are a thousand showcases of Puja Pandals, the most famous ones in the city of Patna are, Dak Bungalow Chowraha, Beena Cinema Hall, Patna Kali Bari, Bengali Akahara, Adrakh Ghat, Khajanchi Road, macchuatoli, dariyaganj, raja bazaar, Jag dev Path, Rukanpura and so many more. Durga Puja is celebrated with much more Pomp in districts of Munger, Darbhanga, Muzaffarpur, Bhagalpur, Purnia and the rest, aligned to West Bengal border, Durga Puja Dates with much bengali influence in the way of worship and most remarkably, distinct forms of idol making. While the Puja goes own in the Puja Pandals, there are many ancient temples in the city of Patna and other places in bihar which continue to perform durga Puja in their own way. A few to mention are, Bari Patan Devi, Cchoti Patan Devi, Shitala Mandir, Darbhanga House Kali mandir, Siddheshwari Kali Mandir, Mundeshwari Mandir. Unlike West Bengal, there is No Navapatrika Sthapana in Bihar. However, Bodhan and Billva Nimantran is performed in the eastern districts.

However, such practices are now being condemned and animals have been replaced by vegetables. Pandal hopping reaches at its peak on this day. On the day of Dashmi, the Goddess is asked to recede back to her celestial abode. The Kalash is dismantled and the water from the Pitcher is sprinkled everywhere and around.

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