Durga Puja Revels Beyond Bengal
Durga Puja is extensively celebrated in the Indian states of Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, Tripura and West Bengal, where it is a five-day annual holiday. Apart from eastern India, Durga Puja is also celebrated in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Punjab, Kashmir, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala. Durga Puja is also celebrated as a major festival in Nepal and in Bangladesh all over the places of Dhaka, Chittagong, Khulna, Sylhet, Rajshahi, Rangpur, Bogra and other major places and all the villages of Bangladesh where the 20% populace is Hindu.3-day National Holiday is being professed and most of the educational institutions remain closed as it is one of the major national festival also in Bangladesh which is widely celebrated and people from all religion participate in the programme. Nowadays, many diaspora Bengali cultural organisations assemble for Durgotsab in countries such as the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, France, The Netherlands, Singapore and Kuwait, among others. In 2006, a splendid Durga Puja ceremony was held in the Great Court of the British Museum.
In Silchar more than 300 pandals, adorned with lights, sculptures and other art forms are created. After Bihu, Durga Puja is the most prevalent festival of Assam. Nowadays the Durga Puja is mostly a community festival celebrated in all the cities, towns, villages of Assam with great carnival and religious fervour for five days.
Durga Puja is the core festival of Hindus in the Bengali subjugated Barak Valley of Assam, where Silchar is the main city. It is said that Durga Puja started in the valley during the rule of Dimasa King Suradarpa Narayan.
Durga Puja is one of the major festivals in Bihar. Hundreds of pandals are set up with carnivals. The city witnesses a huge gush in visitors in the four days from Maha Saptami. More than 100 pandals are setup across the city. Ancient Places of Patna Durga Puja includes Bari and Chhoti Patan Devi, Maa Shitla Mandir Agamkuan etc. Some of the popular puja pandals comprise New Dak Bunglow Road, Shiv Mandir Khajpura, Shri Krishna Puri, Durga Ashram etc.
Navaratri is devoted to Amba Mataji. In some homes, images of Mataji are worshipped in harmony with accepted practice. This is also true of the temples, which usually have a constant stream of visitors from morning to night. The most common form of public celebration is the performance of garba and dandia-ras/ras-garba, Gujarat's popular folk-dance, late throughout the nights of these nine days in public squares, open grounds and streets.
Durga Puja is celebrated with many carnivals. The festival mood starts from Mahalaya; a huge surge in visitors is witnessed during the last four days of the festival, arriving from cities like Jamshedpur (TATA), Ranchi, Bokaro, Dhanbad, Sisai, etc. There are so many pandals as like as at Kolkata and Cuttack which makes interesting and ecstatic in these days at there. Some of the highlighted pandals are Adityapur, Rani Kudar, Kashidih, Sakchi and many more.
Durga Puja is celebrated in a magnificent way in this state. In Mysore, Dussehra is simply the most popular festival. Elephants are decked up with robes and jewellery and taken in processions through the streets of the city. In fact, many people visit Mysore from all over the country to watch this colourful event. There is also a floating festival in the temple tank at the foot of Chamundi Hill and a procession of chariots around the temple at the top.
Hindus in Jammu and Kashmir celebrate their festivals with pomp and show. These days, festivities are more subdued. The favourite deities of Kashmir are Lord Shiva and Serawali Ma Durga, the one who rides the tiger. Pundits /Dogris and Muslims alike vouch that Navratri is important. Here each Hindu household does the puja at home. All the adult members of the household fast on water. In the evenings, fruit may be taken. As elsewhere, Dogris grow barley in earthen pots. On the last day of Navratri, an aarti is held at the temple, after which people break their fast. On Dussehra day, Ravana's effigy is burnt.
In Kerala, Durga Puja signifies the beginning of formal education for every child aged 3–5 years. While puja goes on in the temple for all ten days, it is the concluding three days which are most important.
Thousands throng the Saraswati temple at Kottayam during this period to take a dip in the mysterious holy pond, whose source is yet unknown. Large gatherings are also seen at the famous temples at Thekkegram (Palghat), in which there are no idols, only huge mirrors. A devotee finds himself bowing before his own reflection, which symbolises that God is within us.
Thrikkavu Temple, a famous Durga Devi Temple at Ponnani, Malapuram District of Kerala, is also famous for Navaratri festival and Vidyarambham (beginning of formal education).
Durga Puja is celebrated in almost all towns and cities across the state. Festivities begin with the installation of idols of Durga on the first day of Winter Navaratri and culminate on the Vijayadashmi Day also celebrated as Dussehra. During these 10 days, cities and towns are decorated with pandals and cultural events are organised in every nook and corner. In fact in Madhya Pradesh one can see the mix of all cultures of India which justifies its name Madhya (Central) Pradesh (Province). Durga devotees fast for nine days and worship Lord Ram.
Maharashtra & Goa
In Maharashtra, puja is performed each day and devotees do not remove the flower garland that is put each day on the idol or image of the deity. After nine days, all nine garlands are removed together. An elephant is drawn with Rangoli, and the girls play guessing games. It is called as 'bhondala'. The pujas in Mumbai are performed in special mandals (groups) in areas like Dadar, Parel, Gwalior tank, Powai, Belapur, Chembur, Bandra, Andheri, etc.
Biswa Bharati, Bhosari is one of newly added Durga Puja in Pune, which enhance the lightening of Maa Durga. The tradition & cultural truly makes you feel that you are not in Kolkata.
Nasik boasts of four major ones celebrated by "prabashi" Bengalis' – like the ones at the Government of India Press grounds, the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (H.A.L) in Ojhar, then the one at Artillery Station, Deolali and one in the industrial area of Satpur-Ambad.
In Goa great festivities take place in all the temples, especially Devi temples like in Shanta Durga Temple and other temples of Shree MhalasaNarayani, Shree Vijayadurga. Except temples there are Bengali Associations in Goa who celebrate Durga Puja in the traditional Bengali way. There are approximately 15 Durga Pujas conducted every year in whole Goa. The Durga Puja of Vasco's Goa Banga Committee is 46 years old as in 2012. Artisans and priests come from West Bengal.
The first Sarbojanin puja in Delhi was organised near Kashmiri Gate by a group of expatriate Bengalis. This group became the Delhi Durga Puja Samiti, popularly known as the Kashmiri Gate Puja. Today, over 800 pujas are held in Delhi, with a few hundred more in Gurgaon and Noida each. Today movies have given way to cultural functions, with many of the top Kolkata music artists and other cultural shows being hosted at various Delhi pandals. Chittaranjan Park has the highest density of pujas, with nine large sarbojanin pujas and several family celebrations, and the pandals reflect many Kolkata trends.
Pujas at the New Delhi Kalibari, Chittaranjan Park Kali Mandir, Greater Kailash Kali Mandir and Lajpat Nagar Puja Samity are held in a very traditional manner, following all rituals.
TripuraIn India, Durga Puja is the second biggest celebrated in this state and also the biggest celebrated festival to the people of Tripura, particularly in the Capital city of Agartala. Mainly the pujas are held in various 'paras' who have their own local clubs organising the yearly pujas. The best puja is in Agartala- Like Central Road Yuva Sangstha, Shanti kami, Shantipara, Usha Bazar, Badharghat, Pole Star, Milan Sangha, Haradhan Sangha, Lalbahadur Club, Modern Club, Ramthakur Sangha, Netaji Play Centre etc. The main centre for 'Visharjan' is the Dashamighat area of the city. Other cities where the puja takes place include Amarpur,Udaipur, Belonia, Kumarghat, Santir bazar, Sabrum, Dharmanagar