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Bhowanipore Mitra Family - A special coverage

Kalidas Mitra is termed to be the founder of Mitra Family. Pious in nature and religious minded, Members of Mitra Family started Durga Puja around1757 A.D.        

Subodh Chandra Mitra, renowned Attorney-at-Law, (26th generation) started Durga Puja in 1892 A.D. at his residence at 13, Paddapukur Road, Kolkata 700020 with pomp and grandeur.
On demise of Subodh Chandra in 1926 A.D. the performance rested on his Sons Sukomal Chandra, Sunirmal Chandra and now on his Grandsons Sukhamoy Chandra, Sudhamoy Chandra and their Cousins (all in 28th generation).

The entire Puja is handled with the directions laid down in Family Puthi (Script).

On Ratha Jatra day Kathamo, the built-in frame for Pratima, is worshipped and then the Kumars (Artists) from Kumartuli come to build Images (Pratima) at the Mitra Barir Puja Mandap.

The images of Mother Durga here is somewhat special and different.

Only Two hands of Mother Durga is visible to people, the other Eight hands, smaller in size, are kept hidden by long Hairs. Thus Mother Durga appears to be “Dwibhuja” at Bhowanipore Mitra Family.

It is known This is on account of a "Swapnadesh" (order through Dream) to someone in the Family who seems to have offered only Two Gold Bangles to Mother. The Mother again came in Dream and was cheerful and decided to be worshipped in Mitra Family in the said order and style.

Here Lion is having its head which looks very close to Horse and painted all white with manes and moustache in black. Ganesh and Kartick wears Than, Dhuti and Chaddar made of Cotton. Lakshmi and Saraswati do not come with their Bahans (Carriers) but instead stands on Lotus Flowers.

After the decoration is completed by the Kumars (Artists), the Dieties are further individually decorated with Gold and Silver Ornaments, Weapons, Instruments etc meant and preserved for them by the Family.

In olden days Puja used to start from Pratipad but at present from Panchami day. The Bodhan is held at Thakurghar, the Pratima Puja is celebrated at Puja Mandap. This grants access to Public to watch, Worship and offer Prayers.

With start of Puja on Saptami morning, the Member of the Family in whose name Puja is conducted (Sankalpa) authorises Purohit to perform worshipping, on his behalf. He has to remain in fast for the whole day till end of Aarati in Evening and can take only Bhog offered to Diety. Previously Sankalpa was conducted in the name of Supriyo (29th generation) but for past few years in the name of Suprit and now of Subrit Mitra (both in 30th generation).

On Saptami morning Kalabau is taken for holy Bath, on the Mandap itself (instead of at Ganga Ghat like other family Pujas, as being considered as Family Daughter-in-law and cannot go for outside bathing), with various Ingredients, Perfumes etc and Sacred Waters collected from various Rivers of India. After a Befitting Dress, Ornaments etc she is attached to the Pratima, next to Ganesh for worshipping.

Like Kalabau, Griha Lakshmi is placed close to the Pratima for daily worshipping.

With the start of Puja a big Earthen Lamp is lit with Ghee made of Cow-Milk, and kept inside a large Earthen Vessel. This Lamp is kept non-stop burning till the end of Puja on Dasami. On Dasami the Earthen Vessel is filled with Ganges Water mixed with Termuric and placed in front of Pratima in such a position, it helps to reflect the Body of Mother Durga, from Face to Toe, to indicate the complete Immersion of the Image worshipped. Mantras specially meant for the occasion are chanted while this process of immersion continues.

Offering of 1008 nos. of Billapatra absolutely Clean, Clear, Untorn and Spotless are made in Homagni from Saptami to Navami days at the Jogyakundu. The log of Wood is kept burning during the specified period under vigilant watch.

Being non-Brahmins, the Mitras don’t have Annabhog to offer in the Morning but instead a ‘Sital’ (which includes Luchi, Vegetables fried in Ghee, Curd and Sweets) is offered in the Evenings on the Puja days.

Worshipping Kumari Puja on Aastami and Sadhaba Puja on Navami are performed by the Women folks of the Family.

Sandhi Puja, a 'must' Puja is performed at the juncture of Astami and Navami, within limited period for 48 minutes. Various articles for use of Mother Durga, including Sari, Bangles, Perfumes, Utensils, Beddings Naibedya (with all kinds of Fruits and Sweets etc) are offered on this occasion. A set of 108 Oil Lamps (in Earthen Pots) are lit at the time of this Puja. Also offering and worshiping with 108 Padma (Lotus) Flowers is a must.

In earlier days Buffaloes and Goats were slaughtered in front of Mother Durga in the Courtyard and offered to Her as Puja. This process has been discarded in 1924 A.D. with change of time. However the items continues with cutting of Akkh, Coconut and Chalkumra.

On Dasami with chanting of Mantras Aparajita Creeper is tied on the Hands of all Dieties and then to all Members of the Family from Old to Newborn, Male and Female.

On evening of Dasami after different Rituals and Sindur Khela by the Women folks of the Family, Pratima is carried to Ganges River for actual immersion. The Frame is taken back Home and kept reserved for use in next year.

Bhowanipore Mitra Family - A special coverage Bhowanipore Mitra Family - A special coverage Reviewed by Web Strategy on October 22, 2012 Rating: 5

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