Durga Puja

Durga Puja, also called Durgotsava, is an annual Hindu festival in the Indian subcontinent dedicated to Goddess Durga.

Updated: September 17, 2018

Durga Puja, also called Durgotsava, is an annual Hindu festival in the Indian subcontinent dedicated to Goddess Durga. It is celebrated during Devi Paksha which is 15 days period of Ashwin lunar month as per Hindu calendar. Devi Paksha begins on the next day of Sarvapitru Amavasya and ends on Kojagori Lokkhi Puja.
It is particularly popular in West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Assam, Tripura and Bangladesh. In Nepal Dasara is celebrated as Dashain.
The majority of Bengali Hindus and Assamese Hindus are in West Bengal, Assam and Tripura, and Durga Puja is the biggest festival of the year for them. Durga Puja is not only the biggest Hindu festival but also the most significant socio-culture event for Bengali Hindu society in these states. Durga Puja refers to all the six days during Devi Paksha observed as Mahalaya, Shashthi, Maha Saptami, Maha Ashtami, Maha Navami and Vijayadashami in West Bengal. Durga Puja is also known as Durgotsava and Sharadotsava.
Durga Puja during Devi Paksha is observed as Navratri in other Indian states. Although Navratri is also dedicated worship of Goddess Durga and overlaps with Durga Puja, rituals and customs followed during Navratri differ significantly than those of Durga Puja. Durga puja is also called Navaratri Puja elsewhere in India, such as in Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Kerala, and Maharashtra, Kullu Dussehra in Kullu Valley, Himachal Pradesh, Mysore Dussehra in Mysore, Karnataka, Bommai Golu in Tamil Nadu and Bommala koluvu in Andhra Pradesh.

Durga Puja Origin and Significance:

As per Purana, Lord Rama worshipped Goddess Durga before going to war with Ravana. He had performed Chandi Homa and got the blessing of Goddess Durga before going to war. the worshipping of Goddess Durga during this time of the year is also known as Akal Bodhan which means untimely invocation. This time of the year is considered the most suitable to seek blessings of Goddess Durga and to perform Chandi Homa as Lord Rama was blessed with victory over powerful demon Ravana after getting the blessing from Lord Durga.

Durga Puja festival also known for the victory of Goddess Durga over Mahishasura. Hence Durga Puja festival is observed as the victory of good over evil. It also is in part a harvest festival that marks the goddess as the motherly power behind all of life and creation.

Durga Puja Deity:

Goddess Durga is main deity who is worshipped during Durga Puja. Durga Puja also includes the worship of Lord Shiva as the husband of Goddess Durga, an aspect of Goddess Parvati herself. In West Bengal, Goddess Lakshmi, Goddess Saraswati, Lord Ganesha and Lord Kartikeya are considered the children of Goddess Durga. Hence, all these four deities are also worshiped during Durga Puja. Festive Durga worship and celebrations begin in elaborately decorated temples and pandals hosting these statues of all deities.

Durga Puja Date and Time:

As the date and time of Durga Puja is decided based on lunar calendar, date of Durga Puja is not fixed in Bengali calendar. The next day of Mahalaya marks the beginning of Devi Paksha and the ritualistic Durga Puja begins on the sixth day of Devi Paksha. However, the narration of Chandi Patha in West Bengal begins from the day of Mahalaya. Mahalaya is the most important day of Pitru Paksha, when Hindus pay homage to their ancestors. It is not considered for starting any auspicious work.


On the day of Pratipada which is the next day of Mahalaya Amavasya, most states except West Bengal do Ghatasthapana. Ghatasthapana is equivalent to Kalparambha during Durga Puja when Goddess Durga is invoked. Kalparambha mostly falls on Shashthi Tithi during Devi Paksha. Durga Puja begins on sixth day of Ashwin (seventh lunar month) Shukla Paksha and ends on tenth day of Ashwin Shukla Paksha.
In West Bengal, Durga Puja begins with Akal Bodhan, the day when Goddess Durga is invited and ends with Vijayadashami when Goddess Durga is given ceremonial and ritualistic farewell.

  • Day 1 is Akal Bodhan, Kalparambha. It is the sixth day of Devi Paksha
  • Day 2 is Navpatrika Puja, Kolabou Puja. It is the seventh day of Devi Paksha
  • Day 3 is Durga Ashtami, Sandhi Puja. It is the eighth day of Devi Paksha
  • Day 4 is Maha Navami, Navami Homa. It is the ninth day of Devi Paksha
  • Day 5 is Vijayadashami, Durga Visarjan, Sindoor Utsav. It is the final and tenth day of Devi Paksha

Durga Puja Observance:

The puja rituals are long and complicated. Three days of Mantras, Shlokas chants and Arati (prayer) and offerings are made, which include Vedic chants and multiple recitations of the Devi Mahatmya text in Sanskrit.
Durga Slokas which is also known as Devi Mantra praises Durga as symbol of all divine forces. According to the sloka, Durga is omnipresent as the embodiment of power, nourishment, memory, forgiveness, intellect, forbearance, faith, wealth, emotions, desires, beauty, satisfaction, righteousness, fulfillment and peace.
The rituals are followed during Durga Puja especially in the Indian state of West Bengal include:

  • narrating or listening Chandi Patha
  • display of decorated Pandal depicting sculptures of Goddess Durga
  • morning Pushpanjali to Goddess Durga for first 4 days
  • Shodashopachar Durga Puja from Saptami to Navami
  • Dhunuchi Dance in front of Goddess Durga
  • performing or participating in Chandi Homa on Maha Navami
  • lighting 108 earthen lamps during Sandhi Puja
  • Durga Visarjan on Vijayadashami day
  • playing with Sindur during Sindur Utsav
  • exchange of Vijaya greetings

Durga Puja Similar Festivals:

Some of the similar festival celebrated as durga puja in other states are:

  • Shardiya Navratri in Gujarat
  • Mysore Dasara in Karnataka
  • Dashain in Nepal

Durga Puja Vidhi:

The below given Puja Vidhi includes all sixteen steps which are part of Shodashopachara Durga Puja Vidhi.

Dhyana and Avahana:

Puja should begin with the meditation and invocation of Goddess Durga, while chanting following Mantra in front of Devi Durga Murti, by showing Avahan Mudra. Avahana Mudra is formed by joining both palms and folding both thumbs inwards.
Sarvamangala Mangalye Shive Sarvartha Sadhike
Sharanye Tryambake Gauri Narayani Namoastu Te.
Brahmarupe Sadanande Paramananda Svarupini
Druta Siddhiprade Devi Narayani Namoastu Te.
Sharanagatadinartaparitranaparayane
Sarvasyarttihare Devi Narayani Namoastu Te.
Om Bhurbhuvah Svah Durgadevyai Namah
Avahanam Samarpayami.

Asana:

Take five flowers in Anjali by joining palm of both hands and leave them in front of the Durga Murti to offer seat to Goddess Durga while chanting following Mantra:
Aneka Ratnasamyuktam Nanamanigananvitam
Kartasvaramayam Divyamasanam Pratigrihyatam.
Om Bhurbhuvah Svah Durgadevyai Namah
Asanam Samarpayami.

Padya Prakshalana:

After offering Asana to Goddess Durga, offer Her water to wash the feet while chanting following Mantra:
Gangadi Sarvatirthebhyo Maya Prarthanayahritam
Toyametatsukhasparsha Padyartham Pratigrihyatam.
Om Bhurbhuvah Svah Durgadevyai Namah
Padyam Samarpayami.

Arghya Samarpan:

Offer scented water to Goddess Durga while chanting following Mantra:
Gandhapushpakshatairyuktamarghyam Sampaditam Maya
Grihana Tvam Mahadevi Prasanna Bhava Sarvada.
Om Bhurbhuvah Svah Durgadevyai Namah
Arghyam Samarpayami

Achamana Samarpan:

Offer water to Goddess Durga for Achamana while chanting following Mantra:
Achamyatam Tvaya Devi Bhakti Me Hyachalam Kuru
Ipsitam Me Varam Dehi Paratra Cha Param Gatim
Om Bhurbhuvah Svah Durgadevyai Namah
Achamaniyam Jalam Samarpayami

Snana:

After Achamana, offer water to Goddess Durga for the bath while chanting following Mantra:
Payodadhi Ghritam Kshiram Sitaya Cha Samanvitam
Panchamritamanenadya Kuru Snanam Dayanidhe.
Om Bhurbhuvah Svah Durgadevyai Namah
Snaniyam Jalam Samarpayami

Vastra:

After Snanam, offer Moli as new clothes to Goddess Durga while chanting following Mantra:
Vastram Cha Soma Daivatyam Lajjayastu Nivaranam
Maya Niveditam Bhaktya Grihana Parameshwari.
Om Bhurbhuvah Svah Durgadevyai Namah
Vastram Samarpayami

Abhushana Samarpan:

Then offer jewelery to Goddess Durga while chanting following Mantra:
Hara Kankana Keyura Mekhala Kundaladibhih
Ratnadhyam Kundalopetam Bhushanam Pratigrihyatam.
Om Bhurbhuvah Svah Durgadevyai Namah
Abhushanam Samarpayami.

Chandan Samarpan:

Offer Chandan to Goddess Durga while chanting following Mantra:
Paramananda Saubhagyam Paripurnam Digantare
Grihana Paramam Gandham Kripaya Parameshwari.
Om Bhurbhuvah Svah Durgadevyai Namah
Chandanam Samarpayami.

Roli Samarpan:

Roli (Kumkuma) is a symbol of Akhand Saubhagya. Now offer it to Goddess Durga while chanting following Mantra:
Kumkumam Kantidam Divyam Kamini Kama Sambhavam
Kumkumenarchite Devi Prasida Parameshwari.
Om Bhurbhuvah Svah Durgadevyai Namah
Kumkumam Samarpayami.

Kajjalarpan:

After Kumkuma offering, offer Kajal to Goddess Durga while chanting following Mantra:
Kajjalam Kajjalam Ramyam Subhage Shantikarike
Karpura Jyotirutpannam Grihana Parameshwari.
Om Bhurbhuvah Svah Durgadevyai Namah
Kajjalam Samarpayami.

Mangal Dravyarpana:

Now offer Saubhagya Sutra, Sugandhita Dravya, Haridra and Akshata:

Saubhagya Sutra:

After Kajal offering, offer Saubhagya Sutra to Goddess Durga while chanting following Mantra.
Saubhagyasutram Varade Suvarna Mani Samyute
Kanthe Badhnami Deveshi Saubhagyam Dehi Me Sada.
Om Bhurbhuvah Svah Durgadevyai Namah
Saubhagyasutram Samarpayami.

Sugandhita Dravya:

Now offer scent to Goddess Durga while chanting following Mantra:
Chandanagaru Karpuraih Samyutam Kunkumam Tatha
Kasturyadi Sugandhashcha Sarvangeshu Vilepanam.
Om Bhurbhuvah Svah Durgadevyai Namah
Sugandhitadravyam Samarpayami.

Haridra Samarpan:

Now offer turmeric to Goddess Durga while chanting following Mantra:
Haridraranjite Devi Sukha Saubhagyadayini
Tasmattvam Pujayamyatra Sukhashantim Prayaccha Me.
Om Bhurbhuvah Svah Durgadevyai Namah
Haridrachurnam Samarpayami

Akshata Samarpan:

After Haridra offering, offer Akshata (unbroken rice) to Goddess Durga while chanting following Mantra:
Ranjitah Kankumaudyena Na Akshatashchatishobhanah
Mamaisha Devi Danena Prasanna Bhava Shobhane.
Om Bhurbhuvah Svah Durgadevyai Namah
Akshatan Samarpayami.

Pushpanjali:

Now offer Pushpanjali to Goddess Durga while chanting following Mantra.
Mandara Parijatadi Patali Ketakani Cha
Jati Champaka Pushpani Grihanemani Shobhane.
Om Bhurbhuvah Svah Durgadevyai Namah
Pushpanjalim Samarpayami.

Bilvapatra:

Now offer Bilvapatra to Goddess Durga while chanting following Mantra:
Amritodbhava Shrivriksho Mahadevi! Priyah Sada
Bilvapatram Prayacchami Pavitram Te Sureshwari.
Om Bhurbhuvah Svah Durgadevyai Namah
Bilvapatrani Samarpayami.

Dhoop Samarpan:

Now offer Dhoop to Goddess Durga while chanting following Mantra:
Dashanga Guggula Dhupam Chandanagaru Samyutam
Samarpitam Maya Bhaktya Mahadevi! Pratigrihyatam.
Om Bhurbhuvah Svah Durgadevyai Namah
Dhupamaghrapayami.

Deep Samarpan:

Now offer Deep to Goddess Durga while chanting following Mantra:
Ghritavarttisamayuktam Mahatejo Mahojjvalam
Dipam Dasyami Deveshi! Suprita Bhava Sarvada.
Om Bhurbhuvah Svah Durgadevyai Namah
Deepam Darshayami.

Naivedya:

Now offer Naivedya to Goddess Durga while chanting following Mantra:
Annam Chaturvidham Svadu Rasaih Shadbhih Samanvitam
Naivedya Grihyatam Devi! Bhakti Me Hyachala Kuru.
Om Bhurbhuvah Svah Durgadevyai Namah
Naivedyam Nivedayami.

Rituphala:

Now offer Rituphala to Goddess Durga while chanting following Mantra:
Drakshakharjura Kadaliphala Samrakapitthakam
Narikelekshujambadi Phalani Pratigrihyatam.
Om Bhurbhuvah Svah Durgadevyai Namah
Rituphalani Samarpayami.

Achamana:

Now offer water to Goddess Durga for Achamana while chanting following Mantra:
Kamarivallabhe Devi Karvachamanamambike
Nirantaramaham Vande Charanau Tava Chandike.
Om Bhurbhuvah Svah Durgadevyai Namah
Achamaniyam Jalam Samarpayami.

Narikela Samarpan:

Now offer Narikela (coconut) to Goddess Durga while chanting following Mantra:
Narikelam Cha Narangim Kalingamanjiram Tva
Urvaruka Cha Deveshi Phalanyetani Gahyatam.
Om Bhurbhuvah Svah Durgadevyai Namah
Narikelam Samarpayami.

Tambula:

Now offer Tambula (Paan with betel nuts) to Goddess Durga while chanting following Mantra:
Elalavangam Kasturi Karpuraih Pushpavasitam
Vitikam Mukhavasartha Samarpayami Sureshwari
Om Bhurbhuvah Svah Durgadevyai Namah
Tambulam Samarpayami

Dakshina:

Now offer Dakshina (gift) to Goddess Durga while chanting following Mantra:
Puja Phala Samriddhayartha Tavagre Svarnamishwari
Sthapitam Tena Me Prita Purnan Kuru Manoratham.
Om Bhurbhuvah Svah Durgadevyai Namah
Dakshinam Samarpayami.
Pustak Puja and Kanya Pujan:

Pustak Puja:

Now worship books which are used during Durga Puja while chanting following Mantra:
Namo Devyai Mahadevyai Shivayai Satatam Namah
Namah Prakrityai Bhadrayai Niyatah Pranatah Smatam.
Om Bhurbhuvah Svah Durgadevyai Namah
Pustaka Pujayami.

Deep Puja:

After worshipping books, perform lightening and worshipping of Deep Deva during Durga Puja while chanting following Mantra:
Shubham Bhavatu Kalyanamarogyam Pushtivardhanam
Atmatattva Prabodhaya Dipajyotirnamoastu Te.
Om Bhurbhuvah Svah Durgadevyai Namah
Deepam Pujayami.

Kanya Pujan:

Kanya Puja is also significant during Durga Puja. Hence after Durga Puja, girls are invited for the sumptuous meal and offered Dakshina or gifts. While offering Dakshina to girls, following Mantra should be chanted.
Sarvasvarupe! Sarveshe Sarvashakti Svarupini
Pujam Grihana Kaumari! Jaganmatarnamoastu Te.
Om Bhurbhuvah Svah Durgadevyai Namah
Kanya Pujayami.

Nirajan:

Now perform Goddess Durga Aarti after chanting following Mantra:
Nirajanam Sumangalyam Karpurena Samanvitam
Chandrarkavahni Sadrisham Mahadevi! Namoastu Te.
Om Bhurbhuvah Svah Durgadevyai Namah
Karpura Nirajanam Samarpayami.

Pradakshina:

Now offer symbolic Pradakshina that is circular movement from left to right of Goddess Durga with flowers while chanting following Mantra:
Pradakshinam Trayam Devi Prayatnena Prakalpitam
Pashyadya Pavane Devi Ambikayai Namoastu Te.
Om Bhurbhuvah Svah Durgadevyai Namah
Pradakshinam Samarpayami.

Kshamapan:

Now seek pardon from Goddess Durga for any known, unknown mistakes done during Puja while chanting following Mantra:
Aparadha Shatam Devi Matkritam Cha Dine Dine
Kshamyatam Pavane Devi-Devesha Namoastu Te.


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