Kolkata (West Bengal) [India], September 29 (ANI): West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee played dhak, a traditional drum-like instrument at the inauguration of the community Durga Puja in Kolkata on Wednesday.
She arrived at the Suruchi Sangha Puja pandal in New Alipore. Banerjee was accompanied by her cabinet colleagues Firhad Hakim and Aroop Biswas.
West Bengal government has increased the grant for the Durga Puja organising committees in the state from Rs 50,000 to Rs 60,000 this year. CM Banerjee also declared a holiday period from September 30 to October 10 for Durga puja.
Durga Puja is considered to be one of the biggest festivals around the world.
UNESCO on December 15 inscribed "Durga Puja in Kolkata" on the "Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity".
This year makes it more special as UNESCO has inscribed Durga Puja in UNESCO's Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity and it is the first Indian festival to do so.
The Hindu festival of Durga Puja, also known as Durgotsava or Sharodotsava, is a yearly celebration that honours the Hindu goddess Durga and commemorates her victory over Mahishasur.
To destroy Mahishasura, Goddess Druga appeared from the fusion of all the gods' energies in heaven. She had ten arms, and on each of them, she carried the most lethal weapon belonging to each God. All of Goddess Durga's weapons are sanctified during this time.
Over the years, Durga puja has become an inseparable part of Indian culture with innumerable people celebrating this festival in their own unique way while pertaining to tradition. Hindu mythology holds that the goddess comes to her earthly abode at this time to bless her devotees. For the Bengali community, Durga Puja is the biggest festival. This year Maha Shashti falls on October 1 and Vijaya Dashami on October 5.
The significance of Durga Puja goes beyond religion and is revered as the celebration of compassion, brotherhood, humanity, art and culture.
From the reverberation of 'dhaak' and new clothes to delicious food, there remains a merry-go-round mood during these days.
In other parts of the country, during the nine-day Navratri festival, devotees worship Maa Durga's nine incarnations in order to obtain her blessings. There is a goddess manifestation linked with each day of Navratri.
During these nine days, people maintain ritualistic fasts, recite shlokas dedicated to each goddess, wear new clothing, offer bhog, and clean their homes.
In their prayers, they ask the goddess for her favour in order to have prosperous, joyous and fulfilled lives. (ANI)