By JESSICA GHOSH
One of the most awaited festivals of the year for Bengalees all over the world is Durga Puja.This is the time of the year when the victory of good over evil is celebrated all over India and by Indians all over the world.In Bengal, it is celebrated as Goddess Durga’s victory over the powerful Mahisasur, a demon blessed by Brahma, a God to be invincible against all other Gods,because who needs protection against goddesses right?
It is known in mythology that when the Goddess had invited Mahisasur for war,he laughed it off and proposed marriage instead,her rejection and the consequential battle led to his defeat. It’s funny how the reasons that led to a man’s defeat thousands of years ago is the same even now. The deep rooted patriarchal society that we live in reverently worships the feminine power for 5 days but casually forgets their duties towards women for the rest of the year.
Durga puja over the years, have become more of a cultural festival than a religious one.A time for cultural creativity to be at its peak, from differently themed pandals to dazzling light works decorating the cities to the ultimate sound of the dhaaki’s dhak (people who play Dhak, a drum-like instrument) without which pujo doesn’t feel much like pujo.
Kolkata has seen a significant growth in the number of foreign tourists in the city after Durga Puja was declared as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO, in 2021.
It is said that the trade insiders have estimated at least 17,000 foreigners to take part in the festivities this year,the state government has told the industry to be ready to host five lakh visitors between Mahalaya (October 14) and Diwali (November 12). Last year, Kolkata had hosted nearly 12,000 visitors from abroad during Durga Puja. This year, tour operators expect a 40% rise in the number.
This is also a positive development since this festival supports the economic growth of many sections of the society.From the sculptors who beautifully carve out the majestic idols of the Goddess and her 4 “children” to the dhakis and the electricians,it’s peak business time for all.
Along with them,the numerous food stalls packed with the delicacies without which the festival would be incomplete also contributes to the economy.From momos to sweets to traditional Indian foods to Chinese to all kinds of desserts to the famous ‘street foods’ the city is famous for,it’s a paradise for every food lover.The city rightfully serves upto its designation of being one of the top culinary destinations in the world.
Durga Puja is a festival which should be experienced by everyone in at least once in their life because it transcends religion,race,ethnicity,language and there is place for everyone just how they are and only love,laughter and shared joy in the air.
From Kolkata, India