Bhubaneswar: Mahasasthi is perhaps the most important day during the Durga Pujas. The preparations for the Puja are completed on this day. On this day, the goddess is worshipped as Katyayani, the sixth aspect of the Navadurga forms of Mahadevi. She is decorated with all the weapons received from different gods to fight the demon.
With Maha Shashti, Durga Puja begins with full pomp and grandeur, and is followed by four days full of mirth and splendor. All the puja pandals get set for D-day as the most important feature of this day is the unveiling of the face of the idol, which is done by chanting of mantras and singing devotional songs.
Kalparamva (the beginning of the Puja), Bodhan (the consecration of Maa Durga’s idol), Amantran (inviting the Goddess) and Adhivas (sanctifying the stay of the Goddess in the exact spot where the puja is being held) — are performed in community puja marquees and households where the deity is being worshipped with zeal.
According to the epic Ramayana, before attacking Ravana in Lanka to free his wife Sita, Lord Rama had performed Durga Puja in autumn — a time when the gods sleep, according to the Hindu religious texts.
Rama had to first awaken the goddess prematurely, and as such, the awakening in the autumnal festival is called “Akal (untimely) Bodhan”.
However, mythology also states that the puja celebrates the annual descent of Goddess Durga, the slayer of the demon Mahishashur, accompanied by her four children — Ganesh, Kartik, Lakshmi and Saraswati — on Earth to visit her parents.
The goddess, astride a lion and wielding an array of weapons in her ten hands, stays for four days to eradicate all evil from Earth before returning to her husband Lord Shiva in Kailash on Dashami.
Many women perform a special puja on the day of Durga Shashti and pray for their child’s prosperity. It must be noted that Durga Puja is one of the most important festivals of Hindus. The five-day festival celebrates the victory of good over evil.
The festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm in states like Bengal, Odisha, Assam, Tripura, Bihar and Jharkhand. It is believed that the Goddess Durga visits Earth during these five days to bless her devotees.