Navratri Special: How to Celebrate Durga Puja in West Bengal

Significant of Puja (Brief History) based on Bengali Celebration

Durga Puja 2016
Maa Durga

Image: Kalaahut

Durga Puja – The ceremonial worship of the mother goddess, is one of the most important festivals of India. Apart from being a religious festival for the Hindus, it is also an occasion for reunion and rejuvenation, and a celebration of traditional culture and customs. While the rituals entails ten days of fast, feast and worship, the last four days – Saptami, Ashtami, Navami and Dashami – are celebrated with much gaiety and grandeur in India and abroad, especially in Bengal, where the ten-armed goddess riding the lion is worshipped with great passion and devotion.

Durga Puja is celebrated every year in the Hindu month of Ashwin (September-October) and commemorates Prince Rama’s invocation of the goddess before going to war with the demon king Ravana.

This autumnal ritual was different from the conventional Durga Puja, which is usually celebrated in the springtime. So, this Puja is also known as ‘akal-bodhan’ or out-of-season (‘akal’) worship (‘bodhan’). Thus goes the story of Lord Rama, who first worshipped the ‘Mahishasura Mardini’ or the slayer of the buffalo-demon, by offering 108 blue lotuses and lighting 108 lamps, at this time of the year.

The first grand worship of Goddess Durga in recorded history is said to have been celebrated in the late 1500s. Folklores say the landlords or zamindar of Dinajpur and Malda initiated the first Durga Puja in Bengal. According to another source, Raja Kangshanarayan of Taherpur or Bhabananda Mazumdar of Nadiya organized the first Sharadiya or Autumn Durga Puja in Bengal in c 1606.

Navratri, a combination of 2 words, ‘Nav’ meaning 9 and ‘Ratri’ night is a 9-day Indian festival wherein 9 avatars (incarnations) of Goddess Durga are worshipped. As per the Hindu traditions, Navratri is the symbol of good winning over evil. Ancient tales state that this festival marks the victory of the Goddess Durga over the demon Mahishasura. Goddess Durga fought with Mahishasura for nine days and nine nights before winning over the demon on the tenth day. In these nine days, Goddess Shakti is worshiped in her nine different forms for knowledge, richness, prosperity as well as auspiciousness. In all, we can state that Navratri is the celebration of woman power, which is what makes life possible on earth.

The Power Of Goddess Durga Lies In Every Woman. She Deserves the Respect.

Durga Puja Kolkata & Delhi 2016 Dates

If you have been to Kolkata during Durga Puja, you must have figured out why it is called the City of Joy. During the four days, the Puja fever grips the heart of everyone in the city regardless of age, caste, class or gender. The entire state of West Bengal welcomes Goddess Durga and her children, along with the mighty demon Mahishasura, with open arms and hearts filled with incomprehensible emotions of togetherness.

Mahalaya—-30th September 2016      Friday
Panchmi—-06th October 2016 Thursday
Shashthi—-07th October 2016 Friday
Saptami—-08th October 2016 Saturday
Mahaa-Ashtami—-09th October 2016 Sunday
Mahaa-Nabami—-10th October 2016 Monday
Vijayadashami/Dussehra—-11th October 2016 Tuesday

Sharad Navratri 2016 Dates

Navratri Day 1 – October 02, (Sunday)
Navratri Day 2, Dwitiya – October 03, (Monday)
Navratri Day 3, Tritiya – October 04, (Tuesday)
Navratri Day 4, Varadvinayak Chaturthi – October 05, (Wednesday)
Navratri Day 5, Skandamata Puja – October 06, (Thursday)
Navratri Day 6, Shashthi – October 07, (Friday)
Navratri Day 7, Kalaratri Puja, Saptami – October 08, (Saturday)
Navratri Day 8, Saraswati Puja – October 09, (Sunday)
Sharad Navratri ends – October 10, (Monday)

How to Dress in Traditional Look for Durga Puja Ethnic Dress for Kids, Men and Women

The air is already filled with festive mood and excitement. With Navratri and Durga Puja near-at-hand. So, now I am here to give you some tips about the Durga Puja & Navratri look. Let’s check…

In Navratri the ritual is to wear Chaniya Choli or Lehenga Choli. There are lots of people who who are very excited to know which color will good for them according to these nine holly days. So I am telling you the day wise colors below. Take a look…

Pratipada – Navratri 1st Day –  Orange
Dwitiya – Navratri 2nd Day –    White
Tritiya – Navratri 3rd Day –         Red
Chaturthi –   Navratri 4th Day – Royal Blue
Panchami – Navratri 5th Day –  Yellow
Sashti – Navratri 6th Day –          Green
Saptami – Navratri 7th Day –      Grey
Ashtami –     Navratri 8th Day – Purple
Navami / Vijayadasami – Navratri 9th Day –   Peacock Green

Durga Puja Dress

Saptami

Morning Look: How can Puja festival be complete without opulent Indian traditional outfits? The good news is that Anarkali is still very much in trend this season. However, for the sake of latest designs, these pieces have now got a structured look. You can choose between a vibrant Anarkali in citric colors or bright reds and pinks to reflect the festive mood. Or go for solid colors like black, gold, maroon, midnight blue or bottle green for a modest but rich look. But if an Anarkali is not your style, then try a crushed or embroidered ethnic skirt in earthy colors teamed with a gold or copper top. A black or blue dress in rich fabrics like velvet, paired with a heavy worked over-coat will turn you into dusky beauty.

Note: Keep the make-up clean- add some kohl to your eyes and keep the lips nude. Curl up your locks or tie it in a loose side bun. But if you want to add an old-world charm to the look then a coiffed hairstyle is perfect. Throw on either a pair of antique-looking danglers or a stocky choker, and you’ll look fabulous.

Evening Look: Draw some inspiration from bohemian fashion and go for a shimmery jumpsuit paired with a textured jacket in bright hues. Or try something fusion like long sheer jackets or trench coats with palazzo pants.Prints are very much alive; so don’t hesitate to wear a nice printed tunic with leggings or a chunky top with printed skirt or jodhpurs. Pair these with a nice statement neckpiece or a rich stole, and you’re almost good to go.

Note: Stick to clean makeup by highlighting your eyes with brown or black kohl. Crimson lips will add drama, but you can try light tints of red or soft matt colours in pink. But to add that much needed sparkle to your face go for glossy lips. Compliment the look by tying your hair into a high chignon or ponytail. For a softer look you can also adorn your curls with a headband or pearl necklace. Throw on a potli bag or embroidered clutch with those new pair of nude stilettos to finish off.

Ashtami/ Navami

Morning Look: These days, every thing including sarees are branded. That is why; the brand value of Bengali sarees increases when celebrities wear them. Many ladies hailing from Bengal are there in Bollywood. That is why; during Durga Puja we get to see many celebrities in Bengali sarees. Be it tant, Zamdani, baluchori or Dhakai, there is no dearth of variety when it comes to Bengali sarees.If you are planning to stock up your wardrobe with sarees before Durga Puja then you should have these sarees on your wish list.

Bengal Traditional Sarees
Bengal Traditional Sarees

Tant
Tant is the most basic type of Bengali cotton. Tant sarees are stiffly startched and often easy to manage in the hot and humid climate of Bengal. Tant looks great when it is draped in the traditional style.

Dhakai Zamdani
This is a typical Dhakai and the thread-work is the Zamdani style. This saree is a specialty of Dhaka in Bangladesh. Most Bengali women drape a Dhakai saree on festive occasions.

Baluchari
Baluchari sarees are made in the Bankura district of Bengal. These exquisite silk sarees display mythological stories on their pallu. The pallu has square blocks on which motifs are made with thread embroidery.

Swarnachari
This is a variety of Baluchari sarees itself that uses golden zari threads for embroidery. Both these varieties of sarees are dying out because it takes tremendous human effort to weave these sarees. But the results are not cost effective.

Tangail
This district of Bangladesh is famous for producing Bengali cotton sarees that look great. Tangail sares are now also woven in India. The thread-work on these sarees is their main USP.

Garad
You must have heard about the typical red and white Bengali saree. Traditionally, it is Garad or a Koiral saree. This saree has a red border abd white body. The sarees also have pappery finish to them.

Katha Stitch
Katha stitch is a particular kind of embroidery that we get to see on sarees. The thread embroidery is exquisite and mostly done in the Shantiniketan area of Bengal. This kind of embroidery takes a very long time to do. Katha stitch can be done on either cotton or silk sarees.

Bengal Handloom Sarees
Bengal Handloom Sarees

Benarasi
A typical Bengali bride always wears a Benarasi saree during her wedding. So Durga Puja is the best time to take your wedding saree out of the wardrobe again.

Plain Zamdani Saree
This is a plain red and white Zamdani saree that every Bengali lady should have. You can drape it in the Bengali style during a puja and wear in the pleated style for an elegant day look.

Baatik Saree
A typical Baatik saree is a work of art that is popular in the Murshidabad regions of Bengal. The patterns are first drawn on plain silk sarees and then wax is used to block print these sarees.

On Ashtami Anjali you have to look traditional. Tant, Dhakai, Garad are the best options for this ritual.

Khesh Saree Bengal Special
Khesh Saree Bengal Special

Note:  A clean makeup with just some primer, concealer, blush and gloss. Crimson lips will add to the drama. But highlighting the eyes with thick kohl and extra mascara is a must. Bindi is optional but, if you wear it then, remember to make it large and preferably red.Married women can also apply sindoor to enhance the ensemble. Remember- it’s Puja- the more traditional, the better. Wear wristlets or thick bangles in one hand (or both if you want to go a little over the top). Keep your hair open and give it a wet look. Better still tie it in a lose bun and let your accessories talk. To intensify the look, adorn your hair with a rose.

Kumari Puja: Goddess Durga arrives to her earthly abode with her four children, Laskhmi, Saraswati, Kartik and Ganesh. We worship her  as the Goddess of Shakti who overpowered the evil to establish peace and prosperity on earth. She is also the daughter making her yearly visits at her parents place along with her children for four days. The Goddess is worshipped in various forms during her stay here. One of those forms is the “Kumari”, the Virgin form. This mould is the most powerful form of Mahashakti. A girl aged between one to sixteen, symbolising the Kumari form of  Devi is worshipped in front of the idol of Goddess Durga.

Kumari Puja
Kumari Puja

Evening Look: Do you want to be the centre of attention on Maha Ashtami evening? Then arm yourself with a sari that steers away from conventional prints and patterns. Choose a traditional saree with a modern twist – it’s understated but elegant. A dhakai with patch work or a kota will looks posh and chic. So keep your zari or stone work embellished saree or even an embroidered kantha or elegant dhakai handy to elevate your look for the night. Use your artistic bent of mind and doll up your saree with a multi-coloured patch work blouse.

Note: Be more dramatic with the make up. Smoky eyes with oodles of kohl and mascara will look glam. And if you add some blush on your cheeks, a gorgeous red bindi or carrot coloured sindooron your forehead, then you are on a roll. Embellish the look with big beaded danglers, hoops and jhumkas, but give the stones a miss. You can either wear bright bangles in one hand or a chunky ring. Try experimenting with hair accessories too. You can part your hair at the middle and do a side braid. You can also try hair jewellery by simply braiding your hair with it. Those with short hair can gel their hair sideways. Finish off the look by throwing on an embellished potli bag or embroidered clutch.

Navami

Morning Look: You can drape a pale georgette saree with a matching cutwork or tissue blouse as you partake in the auspicious Sandhi Puja on Maha Navami. Ornate embroidered and embellished sarees are the order of the day and are perfect to start the day on a splendid note. Delicate floral beige and gold embroidery enhance this georgette saree. You can wear it as it is or drape it on a sheer petticoat with net frills at the hem to enhance its beauty and grace. Its nothing short of princess-like.

Evening Look: Rich textiles like brocade, satin, net, crepe, tissue and georgette, embellished with sequin, zari and luxurious motifs will give you a majestic appearance. Get a fusion look by pair it with a backless choli or embellished quarter sleeves blouse. You can also look pretty in that subtle lehenga sari you just bought for the Dhunuchi Naach.

Dashami

Morning Look: Maa Durga will soon leave us & go back to her place in Kailash along with her children. So Vijayadashami is the day to wear your traditional best; but don’t shy away from giving it a contemporary touch. Wearing a vibrant sari that combines pure silk and cotton is great for the pious occasion. It works for all ages and is the perfect blend of tradition and comfort. So pick an exciting sari in crimson, scarlet, mustard, mint green and other bright hues to look dynamic. Pair it with a contrast blouse and take the genteel attire a notch higher. Doll up the look with a pair of danglers or hoops. You can also try a nice statement neckpiece to add some drama and give you a unique look. Sport bright bangles in one hand and wear a chunky watch in the other.

Note: Wear a bright pop of colour on your lips and kohl-rim your eyes- the heavier the better. Wear a big round red bindi or experiment with bindi shapes to make it fun and creative. Keep your beautiful hair open and side-swept; add some waves if you like. And adding a bright flower will make you Dashami-ready in no time. A bright pair of juttis or mojris will add the just right final touch to the creative ensemble.

Sindoor Khela Game of Vermillion
Sindoor Khela Game of Vermillion

Evening Look: The most eagerly awaited fiesta is nearing its end; and after all that glamorous Puja parikrama you need one last ensemble to give it a befitting finish. As you smear each other with sindoor in Sindoor Khela (Game of Vermillion) ritual and pray for happiness, blossom in a classic hand-woven ikkat. Or reserve your best chanderi, benarasi or kanchipuram as you wrap nostalgia around your heart and partake in Maa Durga’s visarjan. This shaded ikkat with an eye-catching zari border is perfect for a profound Vijaya Dashami. When paired with the right kind of jewellery, it is simply mystifying and matches up to the opulence of the night.

Note: And if you wish to get your Vijaya Dashami look spot on then go for dramatic eyes. Make your eyes stand out with oodles of kohl and mascara. Apply a big bindi or use stoned ones to create an arty one. Sport pretty pink or red lips in matte and you are done. The night will surely be magical, so don’t stay behind, wear some extravagant accessories. From striking choker, danglers and bangles to maang-tika and nose pin, just go with the flow. Keep the hair pulled up in chignon or go for waves to add some drama to the look.

DURGA PUJOR BHURIBHOJ

Countdown has begun for Bengali’s grand festival, Durga Puja! It will be a hard job to find a bengali who prefers his/her meals at home during the puja especially if he/she is in Bengal. Even people who stay outside Bengal or abroad where Durga puja is not a major festival, like to make this festival time special in their own ways. As Bengalis are best known for their love for food, most of us celebrate their special days by enjoying a scrumptious meal in favorite restaurant. So now I m giving you suggestions of food to try at home during this four days…

Breakfast:
Phulko Luchi & Alu Chochchori
Koraishutir Kochuri & Alur Dom
Luchi & Alur Torkari
Morich  Luchi (with ground pepper powder) & Hing Deoa Alur Torkari
Radhaballavi with Cholar Daal & Alur Dom
Bengali Porota with Alu-Kumror Chenchki & Begun Bhaja
Luchi & Alur Dom

Bengali Food Durga Puja
Bengali Food

Lunch:
Rice
Muri Ghonto
Mutton Biryani (Kolkata Style)
Chicken Pulao (Afghani Style)
Mishti Pulao

Veg:

Laal Shaak Bhaja
Korolar Shukno Torkari
Shukto
Jhiri Jhiri Alu Bhaja
Alu Dhoniapatar Torkari
Potol Posto
Doi Fulkopi
Mochar Ghonto
Alur Dom without Onion-Garlic
Navaratna Korma

Non Veg:

Shorshe Ilish
Ilish vapa
Telapia Shorshe
Spicy Tangra
Chingri r Malaikari
Daab Chingri

Chicken Do Pyaza
Bengali Chicken Curry
Chicken Chaap Arsalan Style
Mutton Kosha
Veg Mutton Curry without Onion-Garlic
Keema Mutton
Mutton Rezala

Snacks:

Veg:
Kucho Nimki
Bengali Style Jhal Bonde/Khara Boondi
Muchmuche Begun Bhaja/ Baked Crispy Eggplant Chips
Onion Pakora
Vegetable Chop
Mochar Chop
Kolar Bora/ Banana Fritters
DhonePatar Bora/ Coriander Fritters

Non-Veg:
Kolkata Style Egg Chicken Kathi Roll
Mangsher Singara
Chicken Pakora
Dimer Devil
Til die Beguni

Dip:
Dhonepatar Chatni
Chili Garlic Dip

Dinner:
Chicken Pulao (Afghani Style)
Mutton Biryani
Mishti Pulao
Onion Paneer Kulcha
Moong Sprout Paratha
Lachha Paratha

Bengali sweets durga puja
Bengali Sweets

Mishti /Bangali Sweets:

Rasogolla
Kesar Pista Kulfi Ice cream Sandesh
Nolen Gurer Payesh
Pesta Butterscotch Sandesh (Pistachio Butterscotch Fudge)
Aam Sandesh (Mango Sandesh)
Komola Bhog
Angoori Rabri (Mini Rasmalai)
Shor Bhaja/ Sarpuriya
Mishti Bonde/ Sweet Boondi (Bengali Style)
Dorbesh/ Boondi Laddu (Bengali Style)
Gajarer Sandesh
Rose Sandesh
Chocolate Kesar (Saffron) Diya Sandesh
Chocolate Mawa Kesar (Saffron) Roll
Chocolate Sandesh
Malpua
Eggless Sujir Kesariya Halua
Semui/ Semai Payesh
Gajorer Halua (Gajar Ka Halwa)

 That’s all.

Suvo Bijaya bijaya dashami
Bijaya Dashami

HAPPY DURGA PUJA & NAVRATRI TO YOU ALL!!!!!

Enjoy…

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