To be in Calcutta, now officially named Kolkata, India, for the Durga Puja was an amazing experience and a photographer’s dream. The Puja is the worship of the Hindu goddess Durga when she revisits earth for four days each year in early October. The wife of Shiva, Durga has four children: Lakshmi, Saraswati, Kartikeya, and my favorite, Ganesha, the elephant-headed deity of wealth and success, who are depicted with her. The goddess Durga is usually portrayed as riding a lion, and carrying weapons in many of her ten arms and thus she is the ferocious protector of the righteous, and destroyer of the evil. The worship, or Puja, of the goddess Durga dates back to the late 1500s.
Dashami, the last day of Durga Puja, is the tearful farewell to the deity as she is entreated to return to her celestial home and to return again next year, is the most tender part of the tradition. The married ladies smear Her with vermilion (sindoor) and offer sweets, and betel-leaf (paan). Then women also paint each other with vermillion and share in the sweets. Durga is then immersed in the Ganges River until next year.
I have written a detailed description of the Durga Puja (festival) here.
A brief balck and white video of last year’s event can be seen here.
Visit Ron Mayhew Photography
For great travel writing and musings visit On the Go With Lynne.
This Post Has 7 Comments
adinparadise24 Jul 2012
What a lovely and very colourful tradition. 😉
fotograffer24 Jul 2012
Thanks. Colorful, yes. Also noisy, crowded, and so very hot.An experience of a lifetime.
The Retiring Sort26 Jul 2012
Wonderful post about this annual tradition! The photos really give a sense of the celebration!
fotograffer26 Jul 2012
Thanks. It has been said that the Durga Puja is the Hindu equivalent toe Carnival in Rio. Thanks for visiting and commenting.
ailsapm27 Jul 2012
Ron, these are fantastic, you’ve captured some truly lovely moments here. xxx
fotograffer27 Jul 2012
Thanks. My trip to Calcutta and the Durga Puja were an experience of a lifetime. I have barely started working with the images.
ailsapm27 Jul 2012
Cannot wait to see more posts about your trip, Ron. xxx