“Durga Puja of Munger is celebrated with full of euphoria, zest, spirituality & Pride all over the district. It marks the most auspicious days to Hinduism.”
If you are native of Munger, you never wish to be out of your favourite town during Durga puja days. It’s nothing like anything, it’s so unique, so specific, so earthy, it has a smell of Munger adorn and embedded all over it.
From the very penultimate day of the beginning of pooja, almost all the urban and suburban Munger is adorned with loudspeakers and soundbox. You can hear religious songs as early as 4 o’clock in the early morning, it looks so soothing to ears and satisfaction it gives to our heart and mind.
Munger is a small but beautiful place in the sense because it has the zest, power, mind and eye to protect its Durga puja fervour and culture. The roads of Munger have become better than grande, olden and golden days but the population has also increased exponentially. The town has expanded, but development and facilities have not. All these things have little shadows over the puja we Mungeri come together to organise as proud and nostalgics.
People of Munger wait for it all through the year, as they eagerly wait for Chhath puja. As Munger is strategically and thankfully situated near the banks of the river Ganges, I have lovely moments in my life, when I was a child, I walked and strolled on foot to cover almost all puja samitis and pandals.
Durga Puja samitis
All the Puja samitis (organisations) are bound to register themselves with an authority of the local government body; it helps in better atmosphere and security during Durga puja. Puja Samitis are allotted numbers for their identity and immersion in order and strictly according to law, in this legendary series. Badi Durga Mata of Shadipur, Munger has historically and legendary number one position amongst all the idols and Puja samitis of town.
Legend has it, that artist who makes a lousy man idol, has changed or died but Badi maa in his looks and grandeur and positioning has not. Whenever you look at her from any corner, she looks straight at you.
Day 3 of the Durga Puja
The third day of the Durga Puja and effectively it is the fourth day when we also count on ‘Mahalaya’; which is also part of this celebration. The third is dedicated to the goddess ‘Chandraghanta’, the symbolic representation of beauty and bravery being the third manifestation of goddess Durga, she is worshipped in this form this day.
In Evening, I just came back having the darshan of Badi Maa, which she is aptly calling all over the Munger, even the admiring vendors call “Badi Maa ko prasad chadhaiye”. This is the one word which is the most popular.
On Day 6 & 7
Till the evening of day six, Maa idol looks so earthen and pure, though the rituals are carried with the same flow every day. The artist gives the final touch to the goddess till the midnight of day six and gets it ready for further rituals. The next day is Maha Saptami, the seventh day of Navratri is dedicated to Goddess Saraswati. The midnight is followed with Nisha Puja, very famous among the Samitis of Durga Puja Munger. The 101 lamps filled with ghee are lightened up to welcome Goddess Durga at her home on the same day. On the same day, Goddess Katyayani is also worshipped.
On the eighth day of Puja called as Mata Ashtami, Goddess today is a manifestation of “MahaGauri”, now puja celebration is into the last leg and most vibrant phase of worship, everywhere else in India and also in the town.
One the same day, I was lucky enough to witness the Mahaarti of Badi Maa, those who have seen will never forget for the rest of their lives. It was such a beautiful spectacle together with beautiful drums play, and drums beat inside the campus. It was as magnificent and as beautiful as it was religious to the core. The evening was so beautiful.
On the ninth day of Durga Puja, Goddess Durga is the ninth manifestation of Nava Durga as “Siddhidatri”.As the tradition has it, each year people of Munger feed and worship Kumari Kanya on a ninth day, they are the most after sought persons.
On the same day, I visited Bengali Durga at Vijay Talkies and found that they worship Devi maa like no one else. Bengali is more enthusiastic during Puja; they are the most traditional, disciplined, Orthodox and most immaculate. Jamalpur east colony Durga puja is such an example.
The eateries of the city have decked themselves to cater to the tastes of the city, wish everyone has some excellent taste in their mouth when they visit different pandals.
Vijayadashami & Dussehra
The day marks the victory of the seventh incarnation of Vishnu – Lord Rama when he killed the ten-headed demon Ravana. On the other side which marks the end of Durga Puja, where people remember goddess Durga’s victory over the buffalo demon Mahishasura, to help restore Dharma.
On the 10th day evening, one side people rush to Polo ground for Ravan Badh and another side on the same evening ”The goddess of Immense power: The Badi Durga of Sadipur” get ready for a unique ritual called ”Shobha Yatra“. The “Shobha Yatra of Badi Durga of Sadipur” marks the importance of Badi Durga of Munger all over the country.
Shobha Yatra is the pride of Durga Puja of Munger, similar to the festival of “The Ratha Yatra of Puri, Odisha” which is world-famous. Shobha Yatra is one of the very few traditions in the world, where the deity is carried on special, made ‘’Palankeen’’ lifted by a group of people or devotees on the shoulder. The Shobha Yatra is made to follow some defined route of the town over the night and till the fore day off the next day. Enroute to the Ganga Ghat for immersion which almost takes 15 to 20 hours carrying the goddess Durga on the shoulders of devotees is truly heart touching and incredible. Maa Aarti at Abmbe chowk, Milan of Durga No 4 and Badi Durga at Canara Bank More and the Maha Aarti at Bata chowk by Shradha Samarpan Group sights are so amazing and incredible to watch. The Devotees fully engaged themselves in devotion and sonority “Jai Maa Durga Jai Maa Durga ” heard in every street of the town where Shobha Yatra of Badi Durga Maa Crosses.
The very next morning is the day of Vishrajan being official. Following the specific sequence, idols are queued on the street to get immersed in the Ganga. The 1st being the Badi Durga of Sadipur after having Sobha Yatra for the full night get final aarti at Badi Mahavir Mandir. Followed by Chhoti Durga, Badi Kali, Chhoti kali, Durga No 4 and so are also queued near Mahavir Mandir for aarati and then after, move to Shohji Ghat via Bhagat Singh Chowk. In a similar manner, more than 75 idols follow the same path on the same day and get immersed into Ganga.
Jamalpur Durga Visarjan
Jamalpur Goddess idols get late to reach Munger town as they travel 10 to 12km. So, the Jamalpur Durga Idol Visarjan goes till the 12th day. And the celebration Continues to the 12th day also. The Jamalpur Durga Samiti gets special attention every year because of their unique lighting and decoration of Pandal. The people wait till midnight or next early morning to see the idols of Jamalpur.
The very same day and next day, After immersion of the idol of Jamalpur, the atmosphere of the entire city becomes calm. It feels like a strange kind of silence prevails in the city and at the same time, this 12-day celebration is a remembrance for us throughout the year. And then we wait for the next year.
Blog by: Ashish Kumar Pathak
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