Durga Puja Festival of Odisha

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Durga-Puja

The cult of Shakti worship in Odisha is prevalent, both in the Tantric and non-Tantric forms, as can be realized from the festivals Vasanti Durga Puja or Chaitra Durga Puja in the Oriya month of Chaitra (March or April), Sharadiyo Durga Puja in the Oriya month of Aswina (September–October) and Kalipuja (October–November), which are celebrated with utmost solemnity, gaiety and éclat. The great Mother, as the ten-handed Durga, is believed to come down from her husband’s home on Mount Kailash to her parents’ abode in the Himalayas every year for three days, the 7th, 8th and 9th days of the ‘bright fortnight’ in the month of Aswina. In Odisha richly decorated and beautifully made images are installed in people’s houses and the festival instils a spirit of holiness and sancity in the whole community, so much so that people of other faiths participate in it with abundant warmth and sincerity. In Odisha the special feature of Durga Puja is that, in the temples, it extends a over sixteen day period known as Shodasa Upachara, unlike other parts of the country, where it lasts for three to nine days at most. The autumnal or Sharadiya ceremony is known under various names in Odisha: Dussehra, Durgapuja, Akal Bodhan, Shodasa Upachara, Durgostava, Sharadiyo Utasava etc.

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