Monday, November 03, 2008

Durga Puja
October 9, 2008

My friend Mikey arranged a trip to go to Savar today to see the Hindu Durga Puja ceremony.

Durga Puja is a Bengali Hindu ceremony that celebrates the goddess Durga. Durga is a ten-armed goddess of invincibility and feminine power. She came to embody the idea of Indian independence during the British occupation.

For the five day festival, wealthy villagers create painted idols out of clay and straw:
  • Durga - goddess of invincibility and feminine power
  • Shiva - god of destruction or transformation
  • Lakshmi - goddess of wealth and prosperity
  • Ganesha - god of the arts and sciences; remover of obstacles
  • Saraswati - hindu goddess of knowledge, music, and the arts
  • Kartikeya - god of war
  • Mahishasura - demon who could not be defeated by men, but who was vanquished by Durga (a woman)
On the morning of the fifth day the eyes are painted on the goddess. In the afternoon the family members anoint her with spices and herbs and take her to the river in a great procession that the town participates in to be burned.

We stopped at a brass shop in Savar and observed the owner's durga puja statues being sanctified and taken to the river.

Sculpture of the god of war.

Villagers Celebrate
The villagers gather around the idols to celebrate. There were several families in Savar who created idols.

Carrying weapons in each of her ten hands.

Durga Being Anointed
Family members rub her with spices and burn incense before she is taken to the river.

Brass Store
The brass store itself was quite interesting. They had some amazing sculptures (which I may purchase for Panigram Resort!) and the most incredible chess set that I have ever seen! Here is a close-up of some of the pieces.


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