Five things you should know about Durga Puja traditions

Ek Chalar Protima

Ek Chalar Protima

The traditional idol of Goddess Durga is a family portrait with her four children Lakshmi, Sarasvati, Kartik and Ganesh. It denotes the joint family culture in Indian society. Known as ‘Ek chalar protima’, these versions of idols are largely found in family pujas. The complete family is combined under one semicircle background. An end to end connect portrays close bond and the smooth outline depicts strength of inner bonding.

Mangal Ghaat

Mangal Ghaat

Next time you’re in a pandal, do notice the geometry of the ghaat, the water filled jar in front of the deity which has five mango leaves or pancha pallab and a coconut on top. The ghaat is also called mangal ghaat, mangal means well being. It sits on the clay and dhan (rice seeds) showing prosperity and is topped by amra pallab (nascent mango leaves) and coconut denoting greenery and calmness respectively.

Yagya

The yagya is performed in a perfect square platform and the wood used on yagya is kept upon another. A yagya is a powerful and rich process of evoking energy and requires trust, devotion and faith in unison. The same is depicted by the blocks of wood used in yagya.

Lotus

One of the reasons lotus is our national flower is because it’s a perfect example of unity and diversity at the same time. The shades of colour become lighter as we move towards the bud showing pallets of pink and the leaves are intertwined in a circular fashion. During Durga puja, not only lotus is used mostly but a set of rituals on the eve of Ashtami known as sandhi puja requires 108 lotus flowers to be presented to Goddess.

Sindur khela

Sindur Khela

On the tenth day or Dashami, the Goddess is believed to go back from her mother’s home to Kailash and the married females wish her a happy life with feeding sweets and applying vermillion to Durga Maa. This is followed by sindur khela(sindur meaning vermilion) in which vermilion is exchanged between married women with well wishes for each other’s married life. The sindur khela is not only picturesque and spell bounding occasion but the celebration of all of the odds they made through last year. Vermillion signifies womanhood and this tradition is a celebration of women power.

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