Durga Puja has transcended geographical boundaries and reached every corner across the globe. The four-day fair - has become an indispensable part of every one's life in India.
It is one of the biggest festivals in Bengal. Durga Puja is celebrated on a mass scale with puja pandals dotting nearly every corner of West Bengal. Community pujas in Bengal are organised in every locality. On the final day the idols are taken in elaborate processions to be immersed in the river or the pond. Such is the charm and seduction of the occasion that several big community pujas in the city are being sponsored by multi-national companies and commercial firms.
The inauguration starts on Mahashasthi. The main puja is for three days - Mahasaptami, Mahaastami, & Mahanavami. Three days of Mantras and Shlokas and Arati and offerings - needs an expert priest to do this kind of Puja.
Because of these facts, the number of Pujas held in the family has reduced and Durga Puja has mostly emerged as a community festival. The city of Kolkata takes a different look during these three days, especially at night.
Millions of people come to the city and line up before the pandals. The streets are lighted and the electricians display all different kind of light shows. The restaurants are packed and numerous temporary food stalls are opened though out the city.
Schools, colleges, offices remain closed during these four days. Bengalis in other cities in India visit their relatives in West Bengal. After the three days of Puja, on Dashami, on the last day, a tearful farewell is offered to the Goddess. The idols are carried in processions around the locality and finally are immersed in a nearby river or lake. Bengalis all over the world celebrate this great event of their culture.
In Our state Odisha, the festival of Durga Puja is celebrated in a similar manner. Especially in the city of Cuttack, a large number of idols of Durga and Mahadev are worshipped in profusely decorated pandals. Life comes to a stand-still in the city as crowds pour over the Puja Mandaps to enjoy the festivities. On the day succeeding 'Vijaya Dasami', the last day of Dussehra, the images are taken in a spectacular procession for immersion in the river Kathajodi.