Grand star-studded Shubho Ashtami Pujo at North Bombay Sarbojanin Durga Puja

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Katrina and Rani Mukherjee
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Grand star-studded Shubho Ashtami Pujo at North Bombay Sarbojanin Durga Puja with Anil Kapoor, Katrina Kaif, Sonam Kapoor, Jaya Bachchan, Rani Mukerji, Kajol, Jackie Shroff, Rupali Ganguly, Neetu Chandra Srivastava, Sumona Chakravarti, Ishan Puri, Ila Arun, Jaan Kumar Sanu, Nandita Puri, Abhimanyu Singh, Sargam Singh, Vaibhavi Merchant, Rajkumar Rao & Patralekhaa, Palash Dutta, Akasa Singh, Rego B, Rema Lahiri, Govind Bansal, Monika Ganguly, Mohammad Nazim Khilji, Karishma Sharma, Arvinder Singh, Hansa Singh, Surinder Singh, Jyoti Mukerji, Nyrraa Banerji, Gia Manek, Varun Jain and many more

23rd October 2023 in Mumbai- North Bombay Sarbojanin Durga Puja Samiti, one of the oldest and most prestigious Durga Puja celebrations in the city is celebrating its 76th year. This year’s event promises to be an unparalleled spectacle, celebrating the rich culture, art, and spirituality of the Thai Temples.

The highlight of this year’s festivities is undoubtedly the awe-inspiring 20-feet high Protima of Goddess Durga, complete with an intricately crafted Mukut. Without the Mukut, the idol stands tall at an impressive 17 feet which is 30 feet long in breadth. What’s more, this magnificent sculpture weighs over 3 tons, necessitating the use of forklifts and cranes during the immersion process. The Protima takes seven rounds before the immersion.

The theme of “Thai Temples” for this year’s Durga Puja has been masterfully curated, drawing inspiration from the rich and ornate designs found in the temples of Thailand. The Art Director, Kiran, has painstakingly incorporated Thai aesthetics into the Pandal, ensuring a captivating Thai ambiance for all visitors.

North Bombay Sarbojanin Durga Puja Samiti takes immense pride in offering a holistic experience to its devotees and visitors. The USP of this celebration lies in every facet of their hospitality and organization. From the best entertainment programs featuring renowned celebrities performing at the Pandal to an authentic Bhog experience that replicates the warmth of a Baraat, Samiti’s commitment to excellence is unwavering.

Visitors at this year’s event will be treated to a one-of-a-kind service where they are made to feel like cherished guests. While waiting in the queue, free water is provided, and the air-conditioned waiting area ensures comfort throughout the experience. The Pandal itself is centrally air-conditioned, wheel-chair friendly, and offers valet parking for convenience.

Hygiene and cleanliness are of utmost importance, with dedicated housekeeping ensuring the toilets remain spotless and dry. Renowned artists and singers grace the stage, offering performances that are truly priceless. What sets this Puja apart is that North Bombay Sarbojanin Durga Puja Samiti believes in making these performances accessible to all by not selling tickets. This means that even an ordinary person can enjoy live performances by artists like Sonu Nigam, Shaan, Mika, and more.

With an incredible footfall of over a lakh of people, this Durga Puja celebration is nothing short of a grand extravaganza. The spirit of unity, devotion, and celebration that defines North Bombay Sarbojanin Durga Puja Samiti’s 76-year legacy continues to shine brighter with each passing year.

North Bombay Sarbojanin Durga Puja Samiti was established in 1948. The founder members were Shri Sasadhar Mukerji, Ashok Kumar, Kishore Kumar, Bimal Roy, Hemant Kumar, S D. Burman, Joy Mukerji, Pradeep Kumar, Ram Mukerji, and many such celebrities. The Puja was started with Maa Durga’s blessing & it is still going strong because of the good workers like Supratim Sarkar, Navnit Narayan, Sanjoy Mukerji, Prasun Sikdar Shivdutt,, Souvik, Samrat Mukerji.

This year’s Durga Puja celebration at North Bombay Sarbojanin Durga Puja Samiti is truly a star-studded extravaganza. Bollywood and music industry celebrities are set to grace the occasion with their presence, making it an event of unparalleled glamour and entertainment.

Debu Mukerji of North Bombay Sarbojanin Durga Puja Samiti quoted saying “We welcome all to our puja to seek maa’s blessings. Celebrations at North Bombay Sarbojanin Durga Puja Samiti will be bigger, better & grander this year”

Durga Puja is celebrated from Shasti to Bijoya Dashami

MAHASHASHTI: On this day,  Maa is welcomed with much fanfare. In the evening, the Kulo is decorated with Paan, Sindur, Alta, Sheela (stone) , Dhaan, etc..and amidst the beats of Dhaak and the sound of Shaankh, Maa is welcomed…  This is called Amontron and Adhivas -Maa’s Bodhon… Maa is being welcomed

MAHASAPTAMI: On this day the   Kalash (Earthen Pot) is placed with green Coconut and  Mango  Leaves.  This is surrounded on all sides by a red thread and tied. This is called KALASH STHAPAN. The Kalash is an earthen Pot because Maa’s Murti is made of Ganga clay and Maa’s PRAAN (or life) is concentrated in the Pot. So the Pot is the symbol of Maa.  The  Puja starts with praying to  Ganapati,  followed by prayers to  Maa.  Another name of Maa Durga is NABA PATRIKA, which means nine trees i.e.Banana tree, Kochu tree, Haldi tree, Jayanti tree, Branch of Bel tree, Dalim tree ( pomegranate) are tied together. The double Bel fruit is tied to the Banana tree. This is then taken to a river bank or sea and given a bath. When it is brought back it is dropped in a white and red sari with sindur and it now looks like a married lady with her head covered. This is called KOLA BAHU. Many have a misconception that KOLA BAHU is the wife of Ganapati but actually she is MaaDurga or Naba Patrika.. Ganapati’s mother

MAHA SNAN: On this day Maa Durga is given a bath. First, a vessel is placed in front of the Murti; a mirror is kept in the vessel so that the reflection of Maa is seen in the mirror. The   Priest applies Haldi and Mustard oil on the mirror, as though they are applying it on Maa before the bath. In earlier times when there was no soap, haldi and mustard oil were used for baths. The Pujari puts different kinds of water, i.e. Coconut water, Chandan, Ganga jal, Sugar cane juice, and water from the seven holy seas to give her a bath. During this time, mud from every region, as well as mud from the Prostitute’s door is essential. After the bath, the Pujari puts dhaan- durbar (paddy and grass) and a new sari with Maa’s name written on  the mirror which is then placed on the Bedi (the place of worship)

PRAN PRATISTHA: This means bringing life into the mirror.  The Pujari takes Kusha and flowers in the right hand, and touches Maa from head to foot and with Mantra Path life is brought into the Murti, Mirror, and Kalash.

MAHA AGAMAN: Every year Maa comes either on a Palki or an Elephant a Boat or a Dola (Swing), or a Horse, etc.  In this Bengali year 1423, Goddess Durga’s arrival on a horse signifies, indicates the “bad horse”- The most destructive mood, hence all her path is trampled. The Goddess arrives & leaves the earth on the same vehicle, indicating natural calamities, social unrest, and political upheavals. Maa Durga’s agaman- is on the horse & gaman – on a horse.

Welcome: The puja to welcome Maa is done with 16 items- Ashan  Swagatam [ Welcome ], Paddyo [ Water  To  Wash The  Feet ], Argho, Achmoniyom, Madhu Parkam, Purnar Achmaniyam, Abharan [ Shringar], Sindoor, Gandha [ Scent ], Pushpa[ Flower],  Pushpa Mallya [ Garland] , Billo Patra [Bel Leaf] , Billopatra Mala[ Garland Of Bel Leaf], Dhoop, Deep, Kajal, Naibiddo, Bhog And Mishti [Sweet], Paan, Supari.

PUSHPANJALI [PRAYER OFFERING]: Puspanjali means offering prayers at Maa’s feet to give everyone long life, fame, good luck, health, wealth, and happiness. The devotees request Maa to protect them from all evil, sadness, greed & temptations.

MAHA ASHTAMI PUJA: Maa is now Maha Gauri- The Puja starts with Mahasnan & Maha gauri puja. The Puja is done to give Maa the strength of the 64 Yoginis. This is a Puja of 9 pots. Then the weapons of Maa are worshiped.

SHANDHI PUJA: This is the puja when Ashtami Puja ends and Navami Puja begins, so the name Shandhi Puja. This is considered to be the most vital time, meeting (shandhi)of Ashtami and Navami puja. The duration of this Puja is 45 minutes. At this moment  Maa is CHAMUNDA.  Pushpanjali: Prayer offering. Bhog is offered which consists of fruits and sweets is offered to Maa, followed by  “NEET  BHOG” , consisting of  Rice, Ghee, Dal, Fried Vegetables, Chutney, and Payesh.  This prasad is later distributed amongst the devotees which is called KANGALI BHOJAN.

At this time 108 diyas are lit and 108 lotus are offered to Maa. There is a famous story that Lord Ram prayed to Maa Durga offering 108 lotus at her feet in order to defeat Ravan. But to his surprise he found one lotus missing, to replace it, he wanted to sacrifice his eye and pray to Maa..at that moment Maa appeared in front of him and stopped him..returning the missing lotus to him.  She then blessed him for his ” VICTORY”.

MAHA NAVAMI PUJA: On this day, Maa is SIDDHI DHATRI. This Puja starts with  Ganapati Puja and then puja of all the other DEV and DEVIS are performed.. followed by Maha Snan of Maa.

BIJOYA DASHAMI:- On this day Maa had defeated and killed Mahishashur.

DEVI PUJA:- Bhog with curd, honey and milk is offered to Maa.. this is called CHARANAMRIT. The pujari sitting on the Asan takes a flower near the sacred pot and keeps it in the Northern direction because Maa is from KAILASH.

Then the pujari takes the sacred mirror that was on the vessel and performs the ritual of Visharjan. This is the same mirror that was used to welcome Maa because her reflection is in the mirror.

SINDUR  UTSAV: The married ladies apply sindur on Maa’s forehead and offer sweets after which all the other ladies apply sindur on each other’s forehead. This is followed by  KANAK ANJALI when Maa is departing back to her husband’s abode.

VISHARJAN:- During the Visharjan of the Murti, all the devotees either go to a river bank or sea and immerse the Murti in the water.

SHANTI JAL: – The sacred pot is brought back from the river/sea filled with the water where the Murti is immersed. Then the pujari chants the Mantra and sprinkles water with the help of mango leaves on the head of all the devotees for peace and happiness.

DASSERA: This is the day of rejoicement, where youngsters touch the feet of their elders seeking their blessings, and sweets are distributed.

About Post Author

Editor Desk

Antara Tripathy M.Sc., B.Ed. by qualification and bring 15 years of media reporting experience.. Coverred many illustarted events like, G20, ICC,MCCI,British High Commission, Bangladesh etc. She took over from the founder Editor of IBG NEWS Suman Munshi (15/Mar/2012- 09/Aug/2018 and October 2020 to 13 June 2023).
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