Sunday, October 21, 2012

Celebrating the Return of the Goddess

Today is the day that Durga Puja begins. There are several rituals performed during this time in worship of the Goddess Durga. Throughout India, this puja is known under many names. Depending on where you live or where your family is from, you may call it Saraswati Puja, Navratri Puja, Kullu Dussehra, Mysore Dussehra, Bommai Kolu, Ayudha Puja, Vidyaramba, or Simollanghan. 
Happy Durga Puja

If you want to perform your own Durga Puja then you will need to gather your supplies ahead of time. It takes over 50 items to perform all of the rituals and some of them may not be readily available in your area.

Among the things you will need that may take time to gather: 
  • cow dung
  • Water - lukewarm, coconut, saltwater, rain water, spring water and water containing lotus pollen
  • kusum flower powder
  • powdered wood apple leaves
  • Leaves of 5 trees - mango, fig (pakur and Joggodumur varieties), banyan and betel
  • Tree bark from 5 trees - jaam, shimul, berela, kool, bokul - then powdered and mixed with water
  • A finger ring made of kusha
  • horitoki flowers (myrobalan)
  • special soil - extracted from elephant tusks, pigs teeth, ox horns, soil from the Ganga and Saraswati river banks, soil from the intersection of 4 roads, soil from palaces, an anti hill, and the mountains
  • 12 bananas connected to one stem
  • A yak's tail fly-whisk
  • Metals - gold, silver, copper, iron,
For a full list, see this website - The Essentials of Durga Puja

For an idea of what Durga Puja looks like, watch this video of the D/FW Hindu Temple last year. 

Here are some links to help you learn even more about Durga Puja. 
Unending Education: Durga Puja Festival


  1. The Saraswati river doesn't exist anymore. It dried up centuries ago.

  2. You got married in that temple? How nice!

  3. Hmmm...surely the "bank" area would still be there. I'm guessing this is where you would get the soil. Or maybe it's just been stricken from the ritual altogether. I was thinking of doing this myself but then I read the entire list and got exhausted half way through just reading that. Then I decided a blog post about it would be sufficient lol.

  4. googled the Saraswati, there are many version, the river might have existed at one point, as it is mentionned in all the vedas but the rigvedas are very old, from a scientific point of view the river was probably the result of a finishing ice age and stopped flowing to the sea when there wasn't enough ice melting to fuel it. Reaserch have shown that there are at least 5 different location for that river based on satelite images. One of the possibilities is that the saraswati river bed is where the Ghaggar river currently flows in Haryana. But that is one of the many scientific plausible explanation. The only certainity is that yes the course of the river has been altered by geological changes which could explain many of the stories about, like the drying up in the desert, change of course and disappearance.