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Sharadotsav
Partha seal

Cultural traditions become icons of society over time, deep rooted in the psyche and mundane everyday existence. Durga Puja is a festival highly anticipated all year round, beginning with mahalaya, the arrival of the Goddess on Earth. Usually celebrated in September or Sharat Ritu the onset of pre-winter, there is a feel to the approaching festival that engulfs the air. The sunlight is a certain way, white flowers (Shefali), that have come to symbolize this auspicious festival bloom in plentitudes and things around seem to remind a forgetting devotee “Aashlo Pujo”.

Worship of the mother Goddess has been a norm in Bengali (Hindu) society since time immemorial, part of the oldest literature or documentation of the culture that you may find. The early preparations constitute the making of the idols for worship; cast in clay they are breathtaking at each step of the process. The artisans work night and day to get their sculptures ready in time; during humid or rainy days various parts of the idols are dried around a fire.

The photographer has captured the essence of the puja through the commencement of preparations, the mahalaya or arrival of the Goddess Durga to her departure with the Bhashan or the immersion of idols into rivers nearby as a metaphor for departure.

After Visarjan the devotees return back with heavy hearts and complete their puja with the final ritual, the tying of holy thread Aparajeeta onto their wrist as a symbol of blessing of the Goddess.

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