While we all know celebrations of Durga Puja is one of a kind, especially in Kolkata it’s a treat to the eye and the soul. What most of us don’t know is that the flavour of Durga puja is stretched well beyond; the deity empowers the better nature in all of us over the festivity.
Besides the states of West Bengal, Bihar, Orissa and Assam, other places across the stretch of Indian subcontinent revels Ashvin Navratras as the welcoming of winter solstice with the defeat of all forms of evil powers that corrupts and disdain the peaceful sprawl of life. However, as exceptions, a few places have their own style of celebrating the triumph of this Goddess of Shakti over the buffalo-demon or the defeat of Rashash King Ravana by Lord Rama; perhaps a mix-of both with a further detailing that narrates the tradition, beliefs and practices of the land.
Though I insist one must lend an ear to all the stories these places tell; for these tales are not just interesting but also has the ability to boost the mood for the grand Celebration. Being said so here is a list of 5 awesome destinations other than the obvious “City of Joy” where one can have a piece of piety gala time of Durga-aashthami.
New Delhi – Concord in miscellany speak volume, with Durga Puja and Dussehra being celebrated with same emphasis in here, Delhi meet both ends. This is the place where you can grab some of the flavour of Kolkata’s very own authentic Durga Puja in more customized way from Mahalaya onwards with loads of food, family, friends, dhunuchi dance and Mahaaahthami Sandhya-aarti amidst the euphoric Dhak music. But additional advantage is that one can have the chance to witness burning of huge Ravan’s effigy for Dusshera at the famous Ram Lila Maidan.
Ahmedabad – Music and dance is a part of any celebration, live the rhythm of Dandiya over Navratri in Gujarat. Besides having an elaborate ritualistic part to the praying of the deity, the Dandiya Rass is the unique inclusion in the festivity. People in colourful traditional dress dance and knock their dandiya sticks together in unison to rejoice at the occasion of overriding the evil; you can either watch the crowd groove or simply pick up a pair and join them.
Varanasi – The Maha Ganga Aarti on Durga-ashthmi is simply enchanting and certainly worth the experience; though it’s a common sight in Banaras but the power-packed aura of this special occasion where divinity of strength and divinity of purge are worshipped together is definitely double the rumble. The hymns chorused out loud, the flickering yet fierce flames from the large Pishuls at the sacred Ghat makes one feel the omnipresence of god and goodness.
Bastar & Jagdalpur – This tribal area of Chattisgarh has a very unique way of celebrating the Navratri and is ideal for people who love to have the out of the box experience. The festivity lasts for a striking 75 days, when the hordes worship Devi Maoli. Holi possession on chariot with indigenous tribal dance, trumpet blasts, ecstatic tribal rituals and awe-stuck acrobatic stunts is quite a contrasting gaiety to that of the well-known picture of a Durga Puja.
Himachal Pradesh – The celebration in Himachal Pradesh is bit different than that of any other place. Instead of themed mandaps it’s the temples that host this exquisite occasion, gleamed in lights and floral decorations. The five Shakti Peets of Chintpurni Temple, Chamunda Temple, Brijeshwari Temple, Jwalaji Temple and Naina Devi Temple is also a pilgrimage that fills it visitors with the purity in heart and strength in character to boldly fight the odds that life bring upon.
The variety this land offers is indeed the festivity redefined by diversity!
Contributed By: Shatadal Gia Sen
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