All of us must be already enjoying or all decked up to enjoy an extended weekend break this time, all across India, due to the Durga Puja cum Dushhera holidays.
The whole Delhi and NCR is all geared up to celebrate this grand festival with great fervor and zeal, as the capital region of India, has a countless number of Bengali population residing here, who celebrates this festival each year with splendor.
In each bazaar (market) or mohalla (colonies or sectors), grand pandals or puja-halls are made and are vividly decorated with exquisitely crafted and ornamented life-size clay idol of Goddess Durga.
The Schools, Colleges and Government Offices remains closed for a few days on the occasion of this festival. Everyone celebrates Durga Puja festival with their family members and friends wearing new clothes on this event.
This festival continues for ten days and on the tenth day, the image of Goddess Durga is carried in a procession and immersed into a river. The day of Shoshti, Saptami Ashtami and Navmi, which are the Sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth day respectively, of the puja, are celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm amongst the local crowd, in a huge way.
The excitement and vehemence amongst the crowd in all the pandals doubles up the each passing day.
Yesterday, on the day of Durga Ashtami, I went to see one of the pandal which is been constructed in our premises of our society. We all did the divine darshanas of the Goddess Durga. We all offered Anjali to the deity along with the “Uludhwani” (an auspicious sound created by the females, by their tongue) and the “shankh dhwani” (conch blowing), Aagomani songs and bhajans.
I was all lost and absorbed in the splendor and magnificence of the Goddess. The image or the clay idol of the Goddess had ten hands. She held different weapons including a snake to kill the demon Mahishasura. She sat on a lion which was her holy carrier. I was all mesmerized by the heavenly sight of the Omnipresent and offered my prayers to the deity.
I could see the different stalls of various vendors selling food-items, toys, decorative items, showpieces, clothes and different household items. There was a sense of chaos and excitement all amongst the restless crowd visiting the pandal. The children were going berserk upon toys and their favorite food items being sold on the shops and their parents were busy offering prayers and performing rituals.
During mornings different sports activities for children and their parents are being conducted throughout these days of festivities. And in the evenings, various cultural activities and performances by children and adults, takes the centre stage of the event.
Now I am looking forward for tomorrow’s (DurgaAshtami’s) celebration, where main attraction is the Dhunuchi nritya. Till then, Jai Durga Ma, Jai Mata di!!!!
© [Shilpi Mayank Awasthi]  [All Rights Reserved]