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Durga Puja

Time: Ashvin (October/September
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Description : Durga Puja occurs in the month of Ashvin (October/September). It is a 10-day long festival. During the period, goddess Durga is worshipped in Shakti peethas or temporary shrines called pandals. Navratri refers to the first nine days of the festival. The nine forms of Durga, Navadurga, are worshiped during these nine days. Navratri begins on the Prathama (first bright day) Paksha (lunar fornight) of the Ashvin month. It also marks the end of the rainy season according to the traditional calendar. The asura, Mahishasura, was killed by Durga on the tenth day according to Hindu mythology. The final five days are considered especially important.

The Durga Puja is celebrated in two different ways in Odisha. In Shakti peethas (temples of goddess) the Durga Puja is observed with proper rituals for 16 days, starting from Krishnapaksha Ashtami to Shukla paksha Navami of the Hindu Oriya Calendar, known as Shodasa dinatmak Upachara. The Goddess Durga is also worshiped by devotees in different pendals in form deities[clarification needed] across the state. The pendals are usually decorated beautifully.

According to Markandeya Purana, a King of the Chedi dynasty, Suratha, started the rituals of Durga Puja in 300B.C. The Chedi dynasty ruled in Kalinga (modern Odisha). Durga Puia has different names in different Puranas and Sastras. In Devi Purana and Kalika Purana it is named as Vijaya Dashami. It is named as Mahaparbana in Devi Mahatmya and Duseehera in Markandeya Purana.

The Durga Puja of Cuttack is notable for its usage of silver and gold tarakasi (filigree) work on the crown of the idols and also on the pandals.


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