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Traditional Family Puja


Raja Kangshanarayan of Taherpur and Bhabananda Mazumdar of Nadiya

Durga Puja is celebrated in West Bengal since the period of Mughal Empires or the Medieval Period in the 16th century. The Durga Puja was held in the Court of Rajshahi in the 16th century when Raja Kangshanarayan of Taherpur or Bhabananda Mazumdar of Nadiya in 18th century organized the first Sharadiya Durgotsab. Soon then Durga Puja had taken a social and massive turn with celebrations bringing family, friends and neighbours all together and became a religious extravaganza among the Babu’s of Bengal.


Sabarno Roychoudhuri of Barisha

One of the oldest traditional family puja in Calcutta or Kolkata was celebrated in the year 1610 at Barisha Sabarno Roychoudhuri’s family and conducted even today in a highly traditional style. The traditional household Durga Pujas gained prominence because of their deep devotional fervor.


Raja Nabakrishna Deb of Shovabazar Rajbari

The puja at Shovabazar Rajbari also known as Sutanati these days is one of the oldest Pujas in the city of Kolkata, which was first organized by Raja Nabakrishna Deb of the Shovabazar of Calcutta in honour of Lord Clive in the year 1757. This Puja was organized or celebrated because Lord Clive wished to pay thanks to Maa Durga for his victory in the Battle of Plassey. He was unable to do so in a Church because their was the only church in Calcutta at that time which was destroyed by Siraj-ud-Daulah.


Dhar family of Bikrampur

One of the most significant and among all is the oldest (more than 250 years) family traditional Durga Puja is celebrated in Bikrampur’s Dhar family which still continues in Ashoknagar. The Bikrampur’s Hasara village in Bangladesh in 1775 A.D. still continues till date in their Baghbazar residence. In an incident, which changed the astonishingly heartless rituals of sacrifice in the Dhar family, some 250 years ago which needs to be mentioned.

Kashinath Dhar was the zamindar of Bikrampur at that time. He used to perform Durga puja with full traditional rituals at his residence. Ashtami was the sacrifice day. It was during that time when human sacrifice was common and was considered the most important part of the Puja. It was on this day the 'Kharna' (weapon used to sacrifice) landed on the child's head, left the child unharmed. With repeated attempts the result remained the same. There was a commotion and when the news reached the zamindar, he felt unconscious.

On regaining his consciousness he tearfully prayed the Goddess asking her the reason for the omen. Maa Durga then appeared before him and asked him to stop sacrifices and told him she had placed her hand over the child's neck to protect it and has wiped her hand in a cloth, which is behind the idol.

On hearing this the zamindar rushed to the mandap and found the blood stained cloth. Henceforth, sacrifice was stopped in the Dhar family Puja. Durga Puja took a complete social turn when it started being organised by the common people.


Other Traditional Durga Pujas

Traditional family puja like Ghosh family puja of Pathuriaghata, Gobinda Ram Mitra of Kumartuli, Samir Dasgupta in Batajor village in Barishal in Bangladesh, Sacchidananda Chatterjee of Brahmo Samaj Road, Krishnadeb of Shovabazar, The Mitra family of Chorbagan, The Seal family of Chorbagan, The Srimani family of Sukia Street and Kaliprasanna Singha’s of Rani Rashmoni’s residence is still carried on a Traditional way. Some of the fragmented Families who are not united today, passed on a responsibility of Puja to their Munims to carry on with their family’s tradition.




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