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Goswami Bari - Gopal Nagar Kolkata
Durga puja with its ritualistic cultural and other dimensions , have been a topic of my passion since childhood . As a kid I used to sculpt tiny clay images of Durga for worship in my home . In my high school days ,with my intensive efforts and amidst strong opposition ,that small plaything fledged into a full scale Durgotsav at my home . Even now it is me who sculpt the pratima and sit down at the puja . Our ambition is "back to the roots". Our pratima is traditional bangla daaker saaj pratima . Evrything , including the saaj and the pata painting on the chalchitra is handmade in home . This year we celebrated our 9th year of puja . We stick to all the rituals meticulously and collect all items to be used in puja first hand . The list includes difficult items like waters of ocean , dew , all pilgrimages , Saraswati river . Clay from tip of boar and elephants tusks , from the courtyard of temple , kings palace and prostitute quarters etc . This requires meticulous planning and unbound enthusiasm all year round .
My friends and their parents come forward to lend a hand and that is how we have been able to organise this labour intensive festival so peacefully .
Today my parents and friends all participate actively in the festivities . The once tiny affair is now a proper puja .
Since we believe in tradition and also care for its revival,our methods are also traditonal as far as possible . The construction of the pratima starts in home right after 'kathamo puja' in Rathayatra . The eyes are painted on Mahalaya . The 'bodhan' starts on Shashti morning . In evening maa is awakened through songs and bhajans . Thereafter the main puja begins from Saptami . On the Ashtami morning we hold an elaborate kumari puja . Sandhi puja , the confluence time of ashtami and navami is also celebrated as per the stiuplated time with much gusto . On navami the homa ritual takes place . Being of vaishnava descent we do not offer animals in sacrifice . All the bhoga offered to the goddess is completely vegetarian .
On dashami , keeping in sync with the age old bengali traditions , Devi is offered a bhoga of 'panta bhaat' and 'kochur saak' . The final farewell through 'boron' starts in afternoon . After which the ladies participate in sindoor khela .
After the immersion of the pratima in Ganges we return to our home for shantijal and then feast on 'machh bhaat , dodhikarma and siddhi drinks ' . This way our much loved durgotsav comes to an end for one whole year.
The plannings for the next begin immediately on that day itself ! And it is her auspicious agaman every year that keeps us joyous and happy all year round .
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