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Shvoong Home>Arts & Humanities>History of Durga Puja in Bengal Summary

History of Durga Puja in Bengal

Article Summary   by:bhadauria99     Original Author: Ankur Bhadauria
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History of Durga Puja in Bengal History of Durga Puja in Bengal dates back to the Mughal era. History said that the first Puja was organised by Raja Kangshanarayan of Teherpur, Nadia and then Raja Jagatnarayan of Bhaduria followed soon after. Other Hindu kings too came forward and the puja spread far and wide to Gour, RajMahal, Murshibad and Krishnagar. By mid of 18th Century, this festival had become the occasion for the nouveaux riches Babus of Kolkata to flaunt their wealth. They invited Europeans in every evening in their feast to grace their occasion. The British too Participated enthusiastically and had Prassad and did Pranam, often lying Prostrate on the ground. Some believe that the Puja of Saborno Chowdhury is the oldest puja in the city started at 1610 near Behala sakher Bazaar area. Second oldest Durgapuja is the Puja of Govindaram Mitra of Kumartuli at the ealier 1800. Next renowned oldest Durgapuja is the Puja of Sovbazaar Raj Bar. But gradually collective enterprise replaces the individual initiative. It was in 1790, 12 Brahmin friends in Guptipara, Hooghly , had decided to institute Community Puja.
Subscriptions were raised from neighbours. Thus started baro-yari Puja in Bengal which gained popularity in leaps and bounds. Sarbojanin Durgotsab, as we know it today, started off much later in Kolkata, in the 1920s, with Shimlaya Byayam Samti and Bagbazar being the earliest. At present hundreds of Pujas are held in the city’s lanes and bilanes. But Raja RamMohan Roy was the pioneer who promoted the idea of Durga Puja in all over India, in pre independence era. Yet over the years, the ritualistic aspect has been reduced to a large extent in the community Pujas. The accent is clearly on Crowd Pulling capacity. Earlier Pandals would be draped in two coloured cloth spread over tarpaulin held up by a bare framework of bamboo poles. Gradually it was the turn of the much brighter halogen lamps. Now of course there are metal lamps. Yet innovative pandals take the cake in terms of generating visitors’ volume.
Published: October 03, 2007   
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