Durga Puja 2023
Date: 20th - 24th October 2023
Time: Shashti starts from 4PM
Venue: Chestnuts Community Centre
280 St Ann's Road, London N15 5BN
Maha Shashti - 20th October 2023
Maha Saptami - 21st October 2023
Maha Astami - 22nd October 2023
Maha Nabami - 23rd October 2023
Maha Dashami - 24th October 2023
Puja conducted by our priest Tanay K Mukherjee
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Learn more about Goddess Durga
Who is Durga?
Maa Durga, also known as Goddess Durga, is a prominent and worshipped deity in “Sanātana Dharma”. She is often depicted as a powerful and divine female warrior who symbolizes the triumph of good over evil. Some key aspects and attributes associated with Maa Durga are as follows:
1) Symbolism: Durga represents the divine feminine energy, often referred to as Shakti or Devi. She embodies both the creative and destructive aspects of the goddess. Her name "Durga" means "the invincible," signifying her ability to overcome any obstacle or evil force.
2) Appearance: Maa Durga is typically depicted as a beautiful and fierce goddess riding a lion or tiger, symbolizing her strength and courage. She is portrayed with multiple arms, each holding different weapons and tools, symbolizing her various powers and abilities.
3) Defeat of Evil: One of the most famous stories associated with Durga is her battle against the demon Mahishasura. Mahishasura was a powerful demon who could change his form, making it nearly impossible for anyone to defeat him. Durga, with her extraordinary powers, fought a fierce battle against Mahishasura and ultimately vanquished him, restoring peace and righteousness.
4) Motherly Aspect: While Durga is a fierce and powerful warrior goddess, she also represents the nurturing and maternal aspects of the divine. She is often depicted as a caring mother who protects her devotees and provides them with love and guidance.
5) Forms and Avatars: Maa Durga has various forms and avatars, each with its own significance. Some of the most well-known forms include Parvati (her gentle and domestic form), Kali (her fierce and destructive form), and Saraswati (the goddess of knowledge and wisdom, often depicted with Durga during Durga Puja).
Overall, Ma Durga holds a central place in Sanātana Dharma and culture, symbolising the eternal struggle between good and evil and the ultimate triumph of righteousness. She is a symbol of strength, courage, and divine protection for her devotees.
What is Durga Puja?
Durga is particularly celebrated during the festival of Durga Puja, which is one of the most significant festivals in Sanātana Dharma, especially in the eastern part of India and Bangladesh. Durga Puja is not only a religious festival but also a celebration of Bengali culture, art, and community. It brings people together to honor the divine, enjoy cultural performances, and foster a sense of unity and harmony among communities.
Durga Puja is celebrated over a period of five days with each day having its own rituals and significance. These five days are known as Maha Shashti, Maha Saptami, Maha Ashtami, Maha Nabami, and Maha Dashami:
Significance - On this day, the idol of Goddess Durga is traditionally unveiled and placed in the pandal (a temporary structure or decorated altar).
Rituals - The rituals include "Bodhan," the awakening of Goddess Durga, and inviting her to bless the devotees. A "Kalparambha" ritual may be performed, which involves the symbolic planting of a banana tree and offering prayers.
Significance - On this day, the main rituals and prayers dedicated to Goddess Durga commence.
Rituals - Devotees offer anjali (ritualistic offerings) to the goddess and seek her blessings. Many rituals are performed, including "Kola Bou Snan" (bathing a banana tree symbolizing Goddess Durga), "Saptami Puja" (ritual worship of the goddess), and "Navapatrika Puja" (worship of nine different plants representing the nine forms of the goddess).
Significance - This day is considered one of the most significant days of Durga Puja, signifying the battle between Goddess Durga and the demon Mahishasura.
Rituals - The day begins with "Sandhi Puja," which is performed during the transition from Ashtami to Navami. Devotees offer 108 lotus flowers to the goddess. Kumari Puja, where a young girl is worshipped as a representation of the goddess, is also a significant part of Maha Ashtami.
Significance - On this day, the worship of Goddess Durga intensifies, and special offerings are made.
Rituals - Devotees perform the "Nabami Puja" with great devotion and offer bhog (food offerings) to the goddess. In some traditions, a "Siddha Kubera Puja" is conducted to seek prosperity.
Significance - This day marks the farewell to Goddess Durga, as she departs for her heavenly abode.
Rituals - Devotees perform "Dashami Puja" to bid farewell to the goddess. The idol of Goddess Durga is taken in grand processions for immersion (Visarjan) in rivers or water bodies, symbolizing her return to Mount Kailash.
Origins of Durga Puja
What is the origin of Maa Durga?
The trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva came together to create a powerful female form with ten arms. When Durga emerged from the waters of the holy Ganga as a spirit, she was given a physical form by all the gods put together. Her face was created by Lord Shiva and her torso crafted by Indra.
Story of Durga Puja
There was once a powerful demon named Mahishasura who terrorised the heavens and Earth. Due to his extraordinary powers, he became virtually invincible, and even the gods were unable to defeat him. In desperation, the gods created Goddess Durga, a divine warrior, by channeling their collective energy and attributes. Durga was created to rid the world of Mahishasura's tyranny. A fierce battle ensued between Goddess Durga and Mahishasura, lasting for nine days and nights. Ultimately, on the tenth day, Durga was able to defeat and slay the demon, symbolising the victory of good over evil.