Silchar: Durga Puja begins on a high-and-happy note
Silchar: The incessant rains have subsided giving way to a bright and sunny morning, afternoon and evening of Maha Saptami.
The morning showed the day. It was bright, sunny and sun rays were blazing which brought smiles on the faces of the lakhs of devotees of Goddess Durga who have been keeping their fingers crossed in all these days of rain and thunderstorm. The change in weather came as a sigh of relief for the organizers of the innumerable puja committees. After all they have decorated their pandals with utmost care for the devotees to visit and admire the display of superb artistic skills. Devotees dressed in their best attires were seen making a beeline for various puja pandals for taking anjali and prasad.
In the very early hours of Saptami, Goddess Durga is invoked in a set of nine plants which is bunched together and called Navapatrika and is tied to the twigs of white Aparajita plant with a yellow thread. These nine plants represent the nine manifestations of Goddess. The Navapatrika is given a pre-dawn bath in the Ganga water along with the chanting of hymns. The nine planets of Navapatrika represent nine Goddesses which are Banana plant for Goddess Brahmani, Colocasia plant for Goddess Kalika, Turmeric plant for Goddess Durga, Jayanti plant for Goddess Kartiki, Bel leaves for Lord Shiva, Pomegranate leaves for Goddess Raktadantika, Asoka leaves for Goddess Shokarahita, Arum plant for Goddess Chamunda and Rice paddy for Goddess Lakshmi.
The ritual of Navapatrika is followed by ‘Maha Snan’, literal meaning, ‘the Grand bathing’. This is one of the most important rituals. A mirror is placed in front of Goddess Durga’s idol and the reflection in the mirror is given a bath which is known as Maha Snan. The Maha Snan is followed by chanting of hymns for performing the ‘Pranpratistha.’ The aim of Pranpratistha is to awaken the spirit of Goddess Durga. The method is simple. A pitcher full with water is placed in front of the idol of Goddess Durga and a bunch of five mango leaves is placed on the top of the pitcher. A coconut also is placed over it. It is held that ‘Mahisasur Mardini’ Durga starts her battle against demon ‘Mahisasur’ and restores peace and tranquility of Heaven after slaying the buffalo demon Mahisasur.