Durga Puja, the biggest festival in the eastern India and perhaps the entire country is a 10-day long affair, but the festivities are at its peak during the last four days.
So we bring you this list of most happening puja days starting from the fourth day onwards i.e. Saptami.
Dhunachi dance or the ritualistic dance carrying the dhunachi (incense burner mostly made of earthenware) is quintessentially bengali and one of the most recognizable symbols of Durga Puja.
The colors, crowd, and exciting cacophony commence from Shasti (6th day) evening but the maddening dhak beats intensify during Saptami. Although Shasti marks the inauguration and unveiling of the community-organized Puja pandals but Saptami is when pandal hopping begins in full swing.
When do I celebrate
27th September, 2017
What’s the specialty
Navpatrika or Kolabou Puja and Saptami or Kalaratri Puja (midnight puja of Goddess Durga)
On the Saptami morning, the Goddess is invoked within the bundle of 9 plants or Navpatrika. These nine plants (signifying the nine aspects of the mother goddesses) are tied to the banana plant also called Kolabou, often referred to as Lord Ganesh’s wife (this idea used to intrigue me when I was a kid and I used to pester my mom and other elders at home to find out how can a plant be considered as Ganesh’s wife! :D). This Navpatrika is then placed beside Goddess Durga’s idol for the entire duration of Durga Puja. This ritual generally occurs in the early hours of the morning.
The Kalaratri Puja takes place late into the night and that concludes the day’s rituals. The highlight of the day is the evening aarti performed to the rhythmic tune of the traditional dhak and kashor. Well, of course, the divinely tasty Devi Bhog that is offered to the Goddess and later on distributed among the devotees is extremely important too. It’s prasad, so hold up on that foodie instincts! 😛
Dress to impress
Before nose-diving into the cultural aspect of Durga Puja, keep it light and breezy on Saptami. Recommended dress code: Kurta and Jeans.
Same goes with women’s wear, an ornate and elaborate salwar will do just fine. Pair it with the appropriate earnings and head ornaments such as maang tikka.
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For the love of food
Bengali folks and food is a love story for the ages. As such the fascination with food is at an all-time high during Durga Puja. The Bhuri Bhoj is a foodie’s delight. During these 4 days, you will rarely find people staying home and eating in, nay ’tis the season of spendthrifting.
Oh and before we unveil the list of must-try eats if you are vegetarian don’t worry, you will have a plenty of options to choose from since most households have a strict veg food policy till Dashami.
This Saptami you might want to indulge in:
Luchi and Alur Dom
This Durga puja, enjoy this simple yet filling and not to mention yummy breakfast dish. Appropriately spiced aloo dum with lighter than muslin luchi is the perfect morning omnomnom thing!
Jhir Jhire Aloo Bhaja
French fries? You’ll forget all about it once you try this bengali style Julienne potato fry! Best enjoyed with steamed rice and shukto (or dal)
There are two types of people in this world: Those who love illish (Hilsa) and those who haven’t tried it yet. The bengali people will swear by all that is holy, that the shorshe illish (Hilsa cooked in mustard sauce) is heaven on earth and quite rightly so.
Note: First-timers, beware! The tiny bones of illish can be a pain in the neck but it is all worth it. Although restaurants do offer boneless variations but ain’t nothing like the real deal.
Dim er chop
Moving on to the snacks, this particular delight is readily available at roadside vendors and finds a place among many prestigious erudite meet and greets. There’s nothing much to it, dim er chop is essentially boiled egg in batter that is deep fried. Makes for a great tea-time snack.
This quite unusual snack is a delicacy among bengali household snacks. Mocha is the flower of the banana plant. Mocha’r chop as the name suggests is made by cooking the banana flower before rolling it into balls made of dough and deep frying them. Best enjoyed in the company of friends, family and piping hot cup of tea. Condiments used can be kasundi (mustard sauce) and ketchup.
Kola’r Bora or Banana Fritters
The love affair with Banana doesn’t end with Mocha’r chop, rather it extends to kola’r bora or fritters made out of bananas. Served best with tea.
Are you a certified Durga Puja addict? Got anything more to add? Let us know in the comments section below.