Celebrated as the favourite festival of West Bengal, Assam, Tripura, and Odisha. Durga Puja is observed from Shashti tithi and continues until Vijayadashami. Most of the time, the celebrations begin on the day of the Maha Panchami itself.
After the Sharadiya Navaratri, it is time for one more festival, that spells cheer and festivity for the Hindu devotees. The last five-day period of Navratri is when Durga Puja begins and concludes. The Bengali community starts with the pujas on the day of Maha Panchami. The entire ceremonial stretch of the Durga puja period has, all in all, five rituals marked out namely Bilva Nimantran, Kalprarambh, Akal Bodhan puja, Adhivas and Amantran. Bilva Nimantran is the first ritual of Durga puja which must be followed compulsorily as the starting point for the entire procedure. Firstly, Goddess Durga gets invited to the Bilva tree and then to the puja for 4 days.
Kalprarambh, as practised in West Bengal, is the first day of Durga Puja which is celebrated for only a short period of three days. After this Goddess is woken up with Akal Bodhan puja, which is the invocation for the Goddess to come, and the last parts of the ritual are Adhivas and Amantran wherein Goddess Durga is invoked and then invited for the puja.
Amantran and Adhivas is also another name for the same ritual of inviting or invocating Maa Durga in the Bilva Tree. The word “Amantran” means “invitation.” The Adhivas ritual is a medium to invoke Goddess Durga in the Bilva tree for five full days of the festival.
The actual celebration will be on Subho Sasthi wherein major rituals such as Navpatrika Puja or Kola Bou Puja will be carried out. For this ceremony, the Navpatrika is prepared by tying up Bilva branch along with the branches of nine different plants. Read on to know about the rituals in detail.
Durga Puja Rituals: The Kalprarambh
Just a day before Navpatrika Puja we have a series of observances including Kalprarambha, Akal Bodhon, Adhivas and Amantran. Kalprarambh, starts mandatorily in the early morning when a kalash full of water is dedicated to Goddess Durga. After installing the Kalash, on the days of Mahasaptami, Mahaashtami and Mahanavami, the worshippers undertake a pledge to ritualistically worship Goddess Durga.
Kalparambha, which involves installing the water filled kalash and offering Sankalpa and worship is preferably done in the early morning during pratahkal hours. The next three days, on Maha Saptami, Maha Ashtami and Maha Navami, it is time for ritualistic worship which should be adhered to.
In West Bengal, with Kalparambha begins the Durga Puja ritual which is conducted on the previous day to the Kolabou or the Navpatrika Puja. Be it Sandhya kal, or otherwise, normally Shashti tithi is considered for observing Kalparambha, Bodhon and Adhivas & Amantran. As per scriptures, Sandhya kal and Shashti is the ideal combination for initiating Bilva puja. In case sandhyakal shasthi is not be available due to which bilva nimantran has to be conducted on Panchami, it is still correct to perform navapatrika pravesh on Saptami tithi..
Durga Puja 2022: Bilva Nimantran
Bilva Nimantran is conducted during Shashthi Tithi during Sandhyakal. Sandhyakal is the best time to invoke Goddess Durga which is approximately 2 hours and 24 minutes before sunset. If Shashthi closes before Sandhyakal but prevails around Sanyakal of Panchami Tithi, then one should consider the Panchami Tithi for carrying out the Bilva Namantran.
Time And Mahurat:
Bilva Nimantran occurs on Saturday, 01 October 2022; Bilva Nimantran lasts from 15:44 pm up to 18:07 pm. The duration is 02 Hours 23 Mins. Shashti tithi begins at 22:34 pm on 30 September 2022 and Shashthi Tithi Ends at 20:46 pm on 01 Oct 2022.
Durga Puja 2022: Akal Bodhon
Akal Bodhon means invoking Goddess Durga during an uncustomary hour. Akal Bodhon is one more ritual observed during sandhyakal which is otherwise called Bodhon. As Goddess Durga is awakened and invoked into the ritual, it is aptly termed as Bodhon which means awakening. Interestingly, all goddesses and gods take to yoga nidra during the period of dakshinayan and Durga Puja, arriving in the middle of this period, means that it is Goddess Durga who wakes up first. Lord Rama, while praying to her for strength, before he waged war against the ten headed fierce Ravana, woke up Goddess Durga at this time of the year. Since it was an uncustomary awakening, it is also referred to as Akal Bodhon.
The day of Kalparambha is also referred to as Akal Bodhon. During the Bodhon ritual, a water-filled kalash is installed at the base of the Bilva or Bel tree whose leaves are the ideal prescribed items for Lord Shiva worship. This is the time to offer prayers to Goddess Durga. The ritual is followed by Adhivas and Amantran rituals wherein Goddess Durga is invoked in a ritual called Avahana after which the Bilva tree is sanctified by mantras in order to install the Goddess in the Bilva tree.
Usually, Goddess is worshipped during Chaitra Navratri with due ritualistic observances But off late it is the Sharad Navaratri that is gaining popularity in comparison to Chaitra Navaratri.
Since Lord Shri Ram, awakened Goddess Durga to seek her blessings for defeating Lanka King Ravan, at this time during Sharad Navaratri, this timing for the Navaratri observance gained popularity. Kaal Prarambha during Durga Puja during Sharad Navaratri is equal to performing Ghatasthapana or Kalashsthapana, performed on the Pratipada Tithi of Navratri. West Bengal celebrates this Navratri up to 3 days, whereas in other states, it is ceremoniously conducted for 9 days. As per ancient texts, Navratri can be observed for 7 days, or 5 days or 2 days or even 1 day.
Durga Puja 2022: Legends Associated With This Day
According to the ancient lore, a buffalo demon called Mahishasura, by performing strict Tapasya to Lord Brahma had gained invincible powers. Misusing these powers, he started waging wars against the Devas and gradually became a menace to the gods. Goddess Durga emerged from the powers of all the Devas put together in a nutshell and invited the Asura for a duel, won over him and killed him on the spot. Thus, the victory of the Sattva over the Tamas, or the good over the bad, has continued to be celebrated up to this yuga. As per another legend, this is the time for Goddess Durga to visit her mother’s place during Navratri.
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