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Laha Bari - Thanthania

It is to be said that in “Subarnabonik Samachar”, a famous Bengali magazine, Lt. Shri. Narendra Nath Laha wrote about the history of most of the contemporary ancient families, but no such evidence of Laha Bari has been found in his writing. Nobody knows the reason. Shri. Ajay Kumar Law  (Laha), the sixth generation of Lt. Shri . Prankrishna Laha intimated , “ I do not know the actual year of commencement of the Durga Puja of our family , but as per my grand father’s  statement we firmly believe that this pujo is more than 200 years old, it may be around 250 years old. Durga Puja of Laha Bari was initiated by Lt. Shri Bhagibati Charan Laha but was flourished during the time of Lt. Shri. Prankrishna Laha. 

A family hearsay evolves in the air of Laha Bari…… The original deity which was made out with Ashta Dhatu, an alloy of eight holy metals was stolen about a hundred years ago, but when the culprits realized that it was not made out of pure gold, they dumped it half way. Luckily a family member bought the idol back home. The clay model of Shib-Durga was being articulated in the precinct of Laha Bari. On the dawn of 'Mahalaya', homes in Bengal resonate with the immortal verses of the 'Chandipath' , then onward confectioners start making different kind of sweet product, like variety of Gaja, Naru, like,Narkel Naru, Magad Naru, Malpoa, Murki etc. Shri. Ajay Kumar Law  cherished “21 types of sweet product had been prepared this year.”The rituals start from the morning delight of Saptami, the family idol , known as Jai Jai Maa  is being carried to Natmandir. Goddess Durga is considered as the other form of this household goddess. The clay model and Jai Jai Maa are worshipped together. In the year 2010, Shri. Ajay Kumar Law  (Laha), took the responsibilities to observe Durga Puja at Laha bari , situated at 50A, Kailash Bose Street, Kolkata- 700 006.

Durga Puja is basically a festival with a long series of rituals followed on every day of the Puja. Laha family has been maintaining their tradition since time immemorial. The priest ceremonially establishes life in the clay image and from now on till the tenth day, the image is treated as the goddess herself. Maha Ashtami, universally accepted as the culminating point of the four day celebrations. It was on this day that Durga had killed Mahishasura. Devotees recite the mantras and offer flowers to Devi Durga (pushpanjali) and pray for her blessings. Rituals of animal sacrificesare held, but animals are now substituted with 'chhachikumro' (type of pumpkin), cucumber . In Laha Family, four sacrifices are being scheduled. One on  Maha Saptami, one during Sandhikshan and two on the day of Maha Nabami. 108 'Deeps' are lighted during 'Sandhipuja'. At this time Devi Durga took the role of Devi Chamunda to kill the Mahishasura (the Buffalo Demon). The married women of Laha Family do observe a ritual of “Dhuno porano”, where the married women hold burning Malsas on their palms and heads, praying for the peace and prosperity of their children as well as families. Friends and relative get together and enjoy this festivity. After the distribution of ‘Shantijal’, this family observes “KOLHANDI” where women of Laha Bari take home made sweets in a “HANDI” and get bact to their home. On the day of ‘Bijaya Dashami’, Jai jai Maa is being relaced in Thakur ghar and the clay idol is being carried to the Ganga for immersion. The Puja is performed according to Vaisnavite rituals. Because the family is so large now, it is hosted in various residences by turn. The pratima is immersed but the structure is retained and the next year the idol is made on the same structure.
Laha Bari - Thanthania Laha Bari - Thanthania Reviewed by Web Strategy on September 18, 2010 Rating: 5

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