KOLKATA: Thousands of devotees thronged Durga Puja pandals across the city Friday to participate in the ‘anjali’ or special prayers amid the beats of the traditional dhak drums on Mahashtami – the third and most important day of the puja.
Durga Puja, the five-day autumn festival that begins with Shashti and ends with Dussehra, is being held with great fervour at colossal marquees, where idols of the goddess and her four children are installed and worshipped.
Thousands of devotees flocked the Belur Math – the global headquarters of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission to witness ‘Kumari Puja’ or prayers to a pre-pubescent girl – one of the biggest attractions during Durga Puja.
‘Kumari Puja’ is a ritual where a pre-pubescent girl is worshipped as ‘Mother Goddess’.
According to the Hindu mythology, Kumari Puja was started to establish the value of women.
The ritual was resurrected by the famous religious leader Ramakrishna Paramahansa Deb in the late 19th century.
The celebrations at College Square, Santosh Mitra Square, Ekdalia Evergreen, Jodhpur Park, Shuruchi Sangha, and Bosepukur Talbagan drew huge crowds.
As per Hindu mythology, Goddess Durga, the slayer of the demon Mahishashur, sits astride a lion and wields an array of arms in her 10 hands.
It is believed that during the Durga Puja festival, the goddess, accompanied by Lord Ganesh and Kartik and goddess Lakshmi and Saraswati, descends on Earth and stays on for four days to eradicate all evil from the earth.(IANS)