West Bengal celebrates Jagadhatri Puja
The mood of festivity reached its crescendo in West Bengal's Chandannagar city where the festival of lights and high spirits, Jagadhatri Puja, is being celebrated along with the rest of the state on Thursday.
Jagadhatri Puja signifies worshipping of another form of Goddess Durga.
The epicentre of the festival is in Chandannagar, a former French colony and a small town, 30 km North off Kolkata, where it is celebrated for four days with much greater grandeur and fanfare.
It is perhaps the Jagadhatri Puja in the city than can give the Durga Puja celebrationS in Kolkata a tough competition.
In Kolkata, this particular festival is not celebrated as colourfully as in Chandannagar.
The cult of Goddess Jagadhatri is directly derived from Tantra where she is a symbol of sattva besides being Durga and Kali, symbolising respectively Rajas and Tamas--all three basic components of Hindu philosophy.
In Tantra and Purana, Jagadhatri is depicted as having the colour of the morning sun, three-eyed and four arms, holding Chakra, conch, bow and arrow.
Decked out in red attires, bright jewels and nagajangopaveeta, a symbol of Yoga and the Brahman, she rides a lion standing on the dead Karindrasura, the Elephant Demon.
The pages of history say that in Bengal, it is popularly believed that Maharaja Krishna Chandra of Nadia started Jagadhatri Puja.
However, it is not verified and cannot be correct as Chandannagar's Indranarayan Roy Choudhury's Jagadhatri Puja precedes the date when it was started by Maharaja Krishna Chandra in Krishnanagar.
Jagadhatri Puja is very popular in West Bengal's Rishra, Chandannagar and Hooghly.
Jagaddhatri Puja is celebrated in Howrah since 1713.
In Chandannagar, people visit from one pandal (marquees or temporary structure made out of bamboo) to another to see the idols of Goddess Jagadhatri.
Lighting and huge idols are added attractions of the festival. --IBNS