Durga Puja – UPSC Prelims

Durga Puja Festival:
  • Durga Puja is an annual festival celebrated in September or October, most notably in Kolkata, West Bengal.
  • The festival marks the ten-day worship of the Hindu mother-goddess Durga.
  • In the months preceding the festival, small artisanal workshops sculpt images of Durga using unfired clay pulled from the Ganga River.
  • The worship of the goddess then begins on the inaugural day of Mahalaya when eyes are painted onto the clay images to bring the goddess to life.
  • It ends on the tenth day, when the images are immersed in the river from where the clay came. Thus, the festival has also come to signify ‘home-coming’ or a seasonal return to one’s roots.
  • The festival is also characterized by large-scale installations of Goddess Durga in ‘pandals’ and pavilions where people get together. Folk music, culinary, craft and performing arts traditions are also part of the celebration.