The festival of Durga Puja starts with Mahalaya, the first phase of the waxing moon in Aswin. Thousands offer prayers to their ancestors at the city's river banks, a ritual called Tarpan. The inauguration of the Goddess idol starts on Mahashasthi. The main puja is for three days - Mahasaptami, Mahaastami, Mahanavami. The puja rituals are long and very detailed and complicated. 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.


According to the Hindu mythology, on this day, Goddess Durga from her ethereal adobe comes to the earth, accompanied by her four children. Devotees on this earth welcomes the Divine Mother with the dhak beats and great pomp. On this day the ritual of unveiling the face of the idol is performed which is considered as the most significant ritual of the day. This face unveiling ritual is followed by some other meaningful rituals like Bodhon, Amontron and Adhibas. Finally the main Durga puja commences.

Maha Saptami

Traditionally Saptami is considered as the first day of Durga Puja. Nabapatrika or Kola-Bou, is given a holy bath when the first rays of the sun kiss the surface of the earth. Then the tree-goddess is dressed in a yellow silk sari it is placed beside Lord Ganesha. Subsequently, the ritual of worshipping of nine types of plants is performed. These nine types of plants are worshipped as nine different avatars of Durga. After this Kalparambha and Mahasnan, Maha Saptami puja begins.

Maha Ashtami

The next day is Maha Ashtami which starts with reciting holy hymns from Sanskrit scriptures. Thousands of people take part in this recital and offer Anjali to the Goddesses and Gods. This is a very popular part of the whole puja. Kumari Puja or worshipping little girls as Devi Maa is probably the most significant part of the rituals performed on this day. Another main part of Durga puja i.e. Sandhi Puja is performed in the evening of Maha Ashtami. Thousands of diyas are illuminated, hom-yajna is perfomed as it marks the sacrifice of the buffalo demon king, Mahishasura.

Maha Navami

The ninth day of Durga Puja is Maha Navami. The end of Sandhi Puja marks the beginning of Maha Navami. By performing Maha Arti the priest brings a formal end of the religious customs of Durga Puja. The rest of the day observes a grand celebration and merrymaking among the common people. Bhog is offered to the Gods and Goddesses. Afterwards, this bhog is partaken by all as Maha Prasad.

Vijaya Dashami

The last and final day of Durga Puja, Dashami is a day when everybody bids adieu to the Mother Goddess with a heavy heart. Dashami paints the city in a morose shade of crimson red of sindur where amidst the melancholic beats of dhaak and thick smoke of dhuno, Devi Durga returns to her heavenly adobe. The tearful farewell is known as Visarjan. In this grand send-off, the idols of Durga and her children are brought to a riverside to immerse it in the water. After this immersion ceremony people greet each other hearty Bijaya wishes.