Most of you know, that Bengalis celebrate numerous festivals throughout their year. Thus, people from other communities’ call Bengalis ‘festive favourites.’ Just after Goddess Durga leaves for her husband’s home, it is time for the Kali puja and Diwali celebrations. And, just when you thought that the celebrations are all over, its time for another Puja, Jagadhatri Puja. Till date, the puja is celebrated with much fervour.
Festivities Galore In Autumn
The autumn season in Bengal is the harbinger of festivities. In the month of Kartik, devotees celebrate the reincarnation of Goddess Durga, known as Jagadhatri. The word means ‘Holder of the World.’ In Tantra, she is the epitome of sattva. Durga signifies Rajas and Kali Maa, represents Tamas. This is what Hindu philosophy is all about. Sattva, Rajas and Tamas form the Triguna.
The two districts that celebrate the occasion with a lot of aplomb are Krishnanagar and Chandannagar. The latter of the two, celebrates the festival with a lot of opulence. Krishnanagar has a special significance in this relation. Legends say, that Raja Krishnachandra Ray had introduced this puja. Going back to history, the ruling emperor Siraj had captured the Raja. After he was freed, he came across the drums on the boat, with people going for ‘Visarjan.’He was depressed, that he missed the puja while in jail. Later that night, Goddess Durga came to his dreams as a child. She asked the Raja to celebrate the reincarnation in the Kartik month, as per the Bengali calendar. Thus, started the trend of the Jagadhatri Puja. Krishnanagar Rajbari still celebrates the festival with much aplomb. Later Sarada Maa, who was known as the reincarnation of Goddess Jagadhatri, started the puja again. This time, it came to be known as ‘Shakti Puja’.
Moreover, there are other stories associated with the puja. When, Mahisasura changed forms, when Goddess Durga chased him, Devi Jagadhatri came in front of him, in the present form. She killed the elephant-disguised Mahisasura. The goddess killed him with her ‘Chakra.’
Devi Jagadhatri – The Colour Of The Morning Sun
The Devi in this form, stands alone on a lion. The Devi represents brilliance, purity, wisdom, and concentration of the mind. She is entangled by a snake on her neck. This represents her fight for a beautiful life.
Devotees celebrate the festival in the month of Kartik or November. Priests recite passage from ‘Chandi,’ to worship her. The priestsfollow the same rituals as with Goddess Durga. Jagadhatri Puja marks the end of all festivals for the calendar year.
If you happen to visit Chandannagar around this time, you can see the numerous puja pandals across the place. The best artists from all over West Bengal are roped in for the pandal construction and decorations.There is so much grandeur around you, that you will feel mesmerised. Such is the glory of the occasion. Chandannagar’ masters of illumination light up the place. Chandannagar is famous for its French colonies. It is a collaborative effort of Bengalis and the French.
Sridhar Das – The World-Renowned Artist Associated With Jagadhatri Puja
It was him, who made the puja in Chandannagar world famous. He has gotnumerous awards for his works of light. He has represented India on the global platform. Moreover, he has been designing lightworks for the Puja for forty years.
Celebrations In The Pandemic
This year in 2020, the puja starts on 23rd November. Let us hope, that the last puja of the year brings the dreaded disease under control. Today, Kolkata has seen a upswing in Jagadhatri Puja celebrations. Let the light show the way , and bring peace to humanity.