With the beginning of Navratri and Durga Puja, people across the country are celebrating the 9-day festival with full enthusiasm and joy. The people across northern and western regions of India call the festival as Navratri, whereas people in the eastern parts of the country call it as Durga Puja. The way of worshipping is the same but there is a variation in rituals. Durga Puja coincides with Shardiya Navratri, which every year falls in the month of September or October.

Durga Puja starts with Mahalaya (homecoming of Maa Durga) which fell on September 28 this year and the main festivities starts on the 5th day which is called as Panchami and end on the day of Vijayadashmi (Dussehra). To celebrate Durga Puja, people gather in beautifully designed Pandals, wear new clothes, worship goddess with full heart, eat bhog and indulge in various cultural programs.

What is the significance of Durga Puja?

From the ancient times it is believed that during these 9 days, goddess Durga comes down to her maternal home (earth) to spend some quality time with her devotees. Goddess Durga is dressed in beautiful bright saree and armed with various weapons that signify her power and strength. Goddess is also offered bhog and after that everyone present in the pandal eats that bhog which is consists of Khichdi, Begun Bhaja and Roshogulla.

Which are the foods associated with Durga Puja?

In addition to the bhog, variety of delicious food is made in the pandal. There are various Bengali snacks like ghugni, jhaalmuri, fish cutlets, rolls. The key highlight of the 9-day festival is Ananda Mela, which typically falls on Panchami (5th day) or Shashthi (6th day). On this day, devotees bring home-cooked delicious foods to the pandal for everyone to have it and enjoy. Ananda Mela basically means happy fair.

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