This year North Bombay Sarbojanin Durga Puja Samiti 2017 one of the oldest & biggest durga puja founded by Padmashri Sasadhar Mukerji and Shrimati. Satirani Mukerji is celebrating its 70th year. The tradition continuing from generation to generation of making this Puja a "GharuaPuja" (family puja) where all are welcome. The Idol of Maa Durga is being sculpted by Shri. Amit Pal and his team of artisans from Kolkata who have been tirelessly working hard from last two months. This year our idol is 17 ft tall. The materials for making the murti have specially been brought from Kolkata- straw(khor), wood, bamboo, nails, shulki(rope made from jute), Ganga maati (clay from the banks of river Ganges), bele maati(sands from the river Ganges), cloth, particles of chalk for the white colour mixed with other colours, sarees, jewellery, false hair and varnish is used.
Debu Mukherjee says "This is the 70th year of our Durga Puja celebration & just like every year we have tried our level best to recreate something different for all our devotees. This year's durga puja will definitely be a spectacular & grandeur visual treat for all. We request each & everyone to seek the blessings of Maa Durga & enjoy the festivity"
Bappa Lahiri says "Durga Puja is one of the most important festivals of Bengal. It's a tradition we are following since years, and being the third generation in my family, I am continuing the legacy. It's an occasion where the family comes together and celebrate festival. We have an AC pandal which is one of the largest pandal in Mumbai. We welcome each & everyone with open arms to seek the blessings of Maa"
It is the only time of the year when the bengali's in Mumbai switch on to their traditional mode. The festival of Durga Puja is colored with devotional zeal, mythological legends, detailed rituals, extravagant pandals and magnificent tableaus of the divine Mother Goddess coming with her children Ganesh, Kartik, Lakshmi and Saraswati from Kailash to Dharti (her parent's home)"
Sharbani Mukherji says "Our Durga puja was started by my grandparents Padmashri S. Mukerji and Smt. Satirani Mukerji .This year is our 70th year. We have been following the traditions set by our elders from generation to generation. Our puja is well known as a "GHARUA PUJA" which means all are welcome to become a part of our puja family... we believe in serving Bhog to all who come to seek blessings of Maa Durga. Our members are actively involved in serving the Bhog. These few days are days of bonding and celebrations amongst all of us, along with getting an opportunity to wear traditional attire .It is a Sarbojanin puja so all are welcome to be a part of this family."
Ardent devotees of Maa Durga, designer duo Bhumika & Jyoti prepared deity's dresses in red & gold for North Bombay SarbojaninDurga Puja Samiti's 70th year of Durga Puja celebration.
Gods too wear designer clothing! Maa Durga's idol is wearing a haute couture by designer duo Bhumika & Jyoti. If you thought designer dresses and clothes are for mortals only, you are mistaken; followers of Durga Maa, designer duo Bhumika & Jyoti toiled throughout the year to make our Goddess look her very best on the occasion of Durga Puja 2017 "With a milestone year of this Durga pujo touching 70 we didn't want to deviate Durga ma from the authentic traditional red. Red is color of power & purity & that's exactly what Maa indicates. Her poshak depicts the true form of shakti and power. We have incorporated gold in her poshak which adds that extra bit of glamour. We wanted to signify & highlight Maa's power through red & gold. This year's theme is very raw and natural & red goes very well as a contrast" says Bhumika & Jyoti.
Bhumika & Jyoti have sourced the best Banarasi silk brocades and weaves from the weavers who have specially weaved the clrs & the right gold for them. Bhumika & Jyoti have crafted a 120 inches long beautiful saree for 17 ft Durga Maa's idol which is made with multiple add ons of borders and embroideries "Over all the way the back drop is, it adds so much to the whole look which makes it spectacular . We are blessed to be a part of this and blessed that Durga ma chooses us to dress her every year in the most innovative way"
MAHALAYA:- The word Mahalaya, derived from "maha" meaning great and "laya" meaning abode, is a Sanskrit word. Mahalaya is an oratirical invocation to the goddess Durga and heralds her descent on Earth. It's Sanskrit chants entreats the goddess to come and save us from evil powers, it also marks the beginning of "Devi Paksha" and end of "Pitru Paksha" which is Shraadhh period.On this day, Hindus remember and pay homage to their ancestors who have died by performing a puja and offering Brahmins clothes, food and sweets in their name. The food usually includes rice, vegetable, daal and paayesh is supposed to be cooked in purified silver or copper vessels( though that rarely happens anymore) and is offered on a banana leaf.
According to mythology, it is said that goddess Durga was created with the blessings out all the gods, especially Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh so as to defeat the demon King Mahishasura who had received a boon that he could not be killed by any man or god- which is why the creation of the Goddess Durga is said to have been formulated from the powers of God's court and was bestowed with various weapons borrowed from her creators -symbolically held in the 10 hands that are attached to body of the Goddess- which were then used in her fight against Mahishasura.
The fight with the demon king starts the next day, when both - the Goddess and the demon take on different personas in the battle, on the 10 th day Maa Durga
Durga Puja is successful in killing Mahishasura much to the delight of the gods.
Durga Puja is celebrated from Shasti to Bijoya Dashimi.
MAHASHASHTI:- 26th September
On this day, Maa is welcomed with much fan fare. In the evening ,the Kulo is decorated with Paan, Sindur, Alta, Sheela (stone) , Dhaan etc..and amidst the beats of Dhaak and sound of Shaankh, Maa is welcomed... This is called Amontron and Adhivas -Maa's Bodhon...Maa is being welcomed.
MAHASAPTAMI:- 27th September
On this day the Kalash (Earthen Pot) is placed with a green Coconut and Mango Leaves . This is surrounded on all sides by a red thread and tied. This is called KALASH STHAPAN. The Kalash is an earthen Pot because Maa's Murti is made of Ganga clay and Maa's PRAAN (or life) is concentrated in the Pot. So the Pot is the symbol of Maa. The Puja starts with praying to Ganapati , followed by prayers to Maa. Another name of Maa Durga is NABA PATRIKA, which means nine trees i.e.Banana tree, Kochu tree, Haldi tree, Jayanti tree, Branch of Bel tree, Dalim tree ( pomegranate) are tied together. The double Bel fruit is tied to the Banana tree. This is then taken to a river bank or sea and given a bath. When it is brought back it is drapped in a white and red sari with sindur and it now looks like a married lady with her head covered. This is called KOLA BAHU. Many have a misconception that KOLA BAHU is wife of Ganapati but actually she is Maa Durga or Naba Patrika.. Ganapati's mother
On this day Maa Durga is given a bath. First a vessel is placed in front of the Murti; a mirror is kept in the vessel, so that the reflection of Maa is seen in the mirror. The Priest applies Haldi and Mustard oil on the mirror, as though they are applying it on Maa before the bath. In earlier times when there was no soap, haldi and mustard oil were used for having bath. The Pujari puts different kinds of water, i.e. Coconut water, Chandan, Ganga jal, Sugar cane juice, water from seven holy seas to give her bath. During this time, mud from every region, as well as mud from Prostitute's door is very essential. After bath the Pujari puts dhaan- durba and new sari with Maa's name written on the mirror which is then placed on the Bedi (the place of worship).
This means bringing life into the mirror. The Pujari takes Kusha and flowers in the right hand, and touches Maa from head to foot and with Mantra Path life is brought into the Murti, Mirror and Kalash.
Every year Maa comes either on a Palki or an Elephant or a Boat or a Dola (Swing) , or a Horse etc.
This Bengali year , Goddess Durga's arrival on a boat(nauka) significes natural gifts like good harvests but also floods. Maa Durga's gaman(departure) - on a horse signifies devastation as was the case in the early days after war.
The puja to welcome Maa is done with 16 items- Ashan Swagatam [ Welcome ], Paddyo [ Water To Wash The Feet ], Argho, Achmoniyom, Madhu Parkam , Purnar Achmaniyam, Abharan [ Shringar], Sindoor, Gandha [ Scent ], Pushpa[ Flower], Pushpa Mallya [ Garland] , Billo Patra [Bel Leaf] , Billopatra Mala[ Garland Of Bel Leaf], Dhoop,Deep, Kajal, Naibiddo, Bhog And Mishti [Sweet], Paan, Supari.
PUSHPANJALI [PRAYER OFFERING]:-
Puspanjali means offering prayers at Maa's feet to give everyone long life, fame, good luck, health, wealth, happiness. The devotees request Maa to protect them from all evil, sadness, greed & temptations.
Maa is now Maha Gauri- The Puja starts with Mahasnan & Maha gauri puja. The Puja is done to give Maa the strength of the 64 Yoginis. This is aPuja of 9 pots.Then the weapons of Maa are worshipped.
SHANDHI PUJA :-
This is the puja when Ashtami Puja ends and Navami Puja begins,so the name Shandhi puja. This is considered to be the most vital time, meeting (shandhi)of Ashtami and Navami puja. The duration of this Puja is 45 minutes. At this moment Maa is CHAMUNDA.
Pushpanjali: Prayer offering
Bhog is offered which consists of fruits and sweets are offered to Maa, followed by "NEET BHOG" , consisting of Rice, Ghee, Dal, Fried Vegetables, Chutney and Payesh. This prasad is later distributed amongst the devotees which is called KANGALI BHOJAN.
At this time 108 diyas are lit and 108 lotus are offered to Maa.
There is a famous story that Lord Ram prayed to Maa Durga offering 108 lotus at her feet in order to defeat Ravan. But to his surprise he found one lotus missing , to replace it ,he wanted to sacrifice his eye and pray to Maa..at that moment Maa appeared in front of him and stopped him..returning the missing lotus to him. She then blessed him for his " VICTORY".
MAHA NAVAMI PUJA :- 29th September
On this day, Maa is SIDDHI DHATRI. This Puja starts with Ganapati Puja and then puja of all the other DEV and DEVIS are performed..followed by Maha Snan of Maa.
BIJOYA DASHAMI:- 30th September
On this day Maa had defeated and killed Mahishashur.
Bhog with curd, honey and milk is offered to Maa.. this is called CHARANAMRIT. The pujari sitting on the Asan takes a flower near the sacred pot and keeps it in the Northern direction because Maa is from KAILASH.
Then the pujari takes the sacred mirror which was on the vessel and performs the ritual of Visharjan. This is the same mirror which was used to welcome Maa because her reflection is on the mirror .
The married ladies apply sindur on Maa's forehead and offer sweets after which all the other ladies apply sindur on each other's forehead. This is followed by KANAK ANJALI when Maa is departing back to her husband's abode.
During the Visharjan of the Murti, all the devotees either go to a river bank or sea and immerse the Murti in the water.
SHANTI JAL: -
The sacred pot is brought back from the river/sea filled with the water where the Murti is immersed. Then the pujari chants the Mantra and sprinkles water with the help of mango leaves on the head of all the devotees for peace and happiness.
This is the day of rejoicement,where youngsters touch the feet of their elders seeking their blessings and sweets are distributed.
North Bombay Sarbojanin Durga Puja Samiti is the only Durga Puja Samiti which performs the sthapna & visarjan with the help of fork lift and crane. The idols are lifted from the truck and then taken till the middle of the sea with the help of a crane .After the seven parikramas are performed,they are then finally immersed one by one into the sea.