Posts Tagged ‘Durga Puja Chandannagar’


Mahasaptami, or Durga Puja Saptami, is observed on the seventh day of the waxing phase of moon (Shukla Paksha) in Aashin, or Aswhina month. Pran Prathishta, Kolabou, Bodhan are the most important rituals performed on the day.

During dawn, just as the first light of sun descents on earth, Kolabau or Kola Bou rituals are performed. The Pran Prathishta, or life, is breathed into the idol of Goddess Durga. The ritual is performed on the Ghats of a river or pond. The idol of Goddess Durga is not taken to the pond instead life is symbolically transferred from water to plantain tree.

The Kolabau ritual is an elaborate one and the stem of the banana tree is draped in a new red and white saree and the leaves are left uncovered.

The ‘kolabau’ is brought back in a procession and it is placed near Lord Ganesha in the Durga Puja Pandal.


Mahasasthi is perhaps the most important day during the Durga Pujas. The preparations for the Puja are made complete on this day.


Mahasasthi Myth – According to Brahmabaibarta Purana , King Suratha abided by all the rituals and performed Durga Puja during the month of Chaitra.

Because it was spring time, it was called Basanti Puja (Spring is called Basanta in Bengali). Puja held during this time does not require a Bodhan( because that time falls in the Uttarayan period) and hence the Puja starts on Sasthi. But later the time of the Pujas got transferred to Autumn (Ramachandra started it) and Bodhan was then required ( because it falls in the Dakshinayan period). From then on Bodhan is done during Sasthi and Puja traditionally starts on the next day i.e. on Saptami.

Mahalaya marks the start of the ‘Devipaksha’ and the end of the ‘Pitri-paksha’. The traditional six day countdown to Mahasaptami starts from Mahalaya. Goddess Durga visits the earth for only four days but seven days prior to the Pujas, starts the Mahalaya.


Subho Mahalaya

Since the early 1930s, Mahalaya has come to associate itself with an early morning radio program called “Mahisasura Mardini” or “The Annihilation of the Demon.” This All India Radio (AIR) program is a beautiful audio montage of recitation from the scriptural verses of “Chandi Kavya”, Bengali devotional songs, classical music and a dash of acoustic melodrama. The program has also been translated into Hindi set to similar orchestration and is broadcast at the same time for a pan-Indian audience.

This program has almost become synonymous with Mahalaya. For nearly six decades now, the whole of Bengal rises up in the chilly pre dawn hours, 4 am to be precise, of the Mahalaya day to tune in to the “Mahisasura Mardini” broadcast.

The Magic of Birendra Krishna Bhadra
One man who’ll always be remembered for making Mahalaya memorable to one and all is Birendra Krishna Bhadra, the magical voice behind the “Mahisasura Mardini.” The legendary narrator recites the holy verses and tells the story of the descent of Durga to earth, in his inimitable style.

“Ya devi sarbabhuteshshu, sakti rupena sanksthita Namasteshwai Namasteshwai Namasteshwai namo namaha.”

The ritual of Torpon– Sarat in its bloom, mingled with the festive spirit of Durga Puja reaches its pitch on the day of Mahalaya. It is the day when many throng to the banks of river Ganga, clad in dhotis to offer prayers to their dead relatives and forefathers. People in the pre-dawn hours pray for their demised relatives and take holy dips in the Ganges. This ritual is known as ‘Torpon’.