The First Durga Puja in Kolkata

The First Durga Puja in Kolkata

The biggest annual religious festival for the Bengalis, Durga Puja celebrates the victory of the Hindu goddess Durga over the evil demon Mahishasura. The occassion is also known by various names such as Durgotsab ('Festival of Durga') and Sharodotsab ('Autumn festival').


Following the Hindu scriptures, the actual worship of Goddess Durga takes place in the Hindu month of Chaitra (corresponding to March or April of the Gregorian calendar). But this worship is observed only by a handful in some places of West Bengal. The autumnal celebration of Durga Puja, known as "Sharadiya", is more popular and takes place in the month of Sharat (September or October according to the Gregorian calendar).


The "Sharadiya" Durga Puja is said to have first started in the year 1757 with the Durga Puja of Sovabazar Rajbari. The oldest puja in Kolkata, it came to being due to the efforts of Maharaja Naba Krishna De, the founder of the Shobhabazar royal family. It is said that after emerging victorious in the Battle of Plassey, Colonel Robert Clive wanted to pay a thanks to the divine forces for his success. The Battle of Plassey was a landmark in the history of British domination in India as the victory of the British forces in this war gave the East India Company control of Bengal. Robert Clive was the then chief officer of British East India Company and he led his forces to victory in this crucial battle, that too with minimum casualties. As the only church in Calcutta at that time was destroyed by Siraj-ud-Daulah, Clive was unable to show his gratitude to God.


When Raja Nabakrishna Deb came to know of Clive’s desire, he invited the latter to his house at Durga Puja and offer his thanks at the feet of Goddess Durga. Initially Clive had some hesitations to attend the puja as in those days Christians were not allowed by the Hindus to take part in Hindu festivities. However, the mighty Nabakrishna Deb managed it all and Robert Clive paid a visit to the Shobhabazar Rajbari to offer his thanks to Goddess Durga. Thereafter, the Shobhabazar Durgotsab(Durga Puja ceremony) came to be known as the "Company Puja".


The Shobhabazar Sharodotsab proved a trendsetter in Durga Puja festivities of Bengal. From this time until the independence of India in 1947, inviting Englishmen to Durga Puja ceremonies became a fashion. The number of Englishmen attending the family Durga Puja became an index of prestige and a status symbol among the upcoming merchant class of Kolkata. After this trendsetting puja of 1757, many British Officers of the East India Company were invited as guests of honour in the Pujas by various wealthy mercantile and Zamindar families in Bengal. The hosts vied with one another in arranging the most sumptuous feasts and organising lavish decorations and entertainment for their white guests. This was a way of pleasing officials of The East India Company which was in charge of a large part of India including Bengal after the battles of Plassey and Buxar.


With time, the "barowari" (community) pujas took over in a big way. The coming of corporate sponsorship helped these public puja ceremonies far surpass the grandeur of the private pujas. However, the Durga Pujas of the old zamindar families in and around Kolkata still attract crowds. These still survive even after the downfall of royalty in India. In 2008, Shovabazar Rajbari organised the 252nd Durga Puja.
Previous
Next Post »

Labels

Aayur Devi (1) Abhimanyu (4) Aghori Baba shadhu (3) akshaypatra (1) Ancient Weapons (1) Angada (1) Arati (4) Arjuna (7) Aruni (1) Ashwatthama (2) BABA BALAKNATH (1) bal gopal (1) Bhaduri mahasaya (1) Bhagavad Gita (1) Bhima (5) Bhishma Pitamaha (3) chakravyuh (1) Demom Bhasmasura (1) Demon (3) Demon Duraasadana (1) Demon Sunda (1) Demon Upasunda (1) Devaki (1) Devyani (1) Dhrishtadyumna (1) Draupadi (5) Durga Puja (5) Duryodhana (10) Dusshasana (2) Eklavya (2) festivals (9) Gandhari (4) Ganga Maya (2) Gayatri Devi the Goddess (1) girnari bapu (1) goddes mahakali (2) goddess (11) Goddess annapurna devi (1) Goddess Ashapura Mataji (1) Goddess Bagalamukhi (2) Goddess Bahuchar Mata (1) Goddess Bhavani Mata (1) Goddess Bhuvaneswari (1) Goddess Dhumavati (3) goddess durga (7) goddess durga sketch (1) Goddess Gauridevi (1) goddess gayatri (1) goddess kali (1) Goddess Kaveri (1) Goddess Mahamaya (1) Goddess Matangi (3) Goddess Parvati (4) goddess saraswati (2) Goddess Sati (3) Goddess Shakti (3) Gotras (1) Guru Drona (6) Guru Purnima (1) Gyanganj (1) Himalayas (3) HINDI ARTICLE (2) HINDI JYOTISH ARTICLE (23) Hinduism (1) Hunter Suswara (1) Immortal (3) Indrajit (1) Interesting Article (23) Jaidratha (4) Jatayu (3) Jyotirling (3) Jyotirlingas (6) Kabandha (1) Kach (1) Kaikeyi (1) kailas parvat (2) Kalaki Avatar (2) kali (2) kalia (1) KANSA (4) karana (1) Karna (5) Kashi (1) Kashi Vishwanath (1) Kauravas (5) Kedarnath (1) Khodiyar MAA (1) King Dhritarashtra (4) King Dushyanta (1) King Harishchandra (1) King Himavantha (1) King Janmenjaya (1) King Kuntibhoja (1) King Nambirajan (1) King Pandu (3) king Parikshita (2) king Sarvan (1) King Shantanu (1) King Shibi Rana (1) Kripa Charya (1) Kunti (5) learn Jyotish Vidia (6) LOBSANG RAMPA (1) Lord Agni Deva (2) Lord Ayyappa (1) Lord Balarama (2) Lord Brahma (4) lord buddha (1) Lord Chandra Deva (1) Lord Dattatraya Avatar (1) LORD Dhanvantari (1) Lord ganesha (2) Lord Garuda (1) Lord Hanumana (5) Lord Hayagriv (1) LORD INDRA (7) Lord Jagganath (1) Lord Kala Bhairav (1) lord Kamadeva god of love (1) Lord kartik swami (3) Lord Kubera (1) Lord Kurma Avatar (2) Lord Narsinmha (1) Lord Rama (7) Lord shani deva (3) Lord Shiva (18) LORD SRI KRISHNA (18) Lord Surya (4) Lord Swaminarayan (1) Lord Varaha Avatar (1) lord varuna god of water (1) Lord Vishwakarma (1) Lord Yagya Deva Avatar (1) Lord yama ( yamraj ) (4) Madri (2) Mahabharata (34) mahakali (1) Mantra Shadhana (1) Matasya avatar (1) Menadevi (1) More Topics (33) Mountain Meru (1) Mountain Vindhyachala (1) Nachiketa (1) Nagas (1) Nakula (4) Nandi (1) Narada Purana (1) Natha Sampradaya (1) NAVNATH (1) Navratri (1) Om (2) Padma Purana (1) Pandavas (11) Parsu Ram (3) Putana (1) Raja Yoga (1) Ramana Maharishi (1) Ramayana (12) Rameshwaram Jyotirlniga (1) Ravana (3) Rudraksha (1) Rukmani (1) sadhu baba (27) sage (30) Sage Agastya (4) Sage Aurobindo (3) Sage Baba Lokenath (1) Sage Dhoumya (2) Sage Durwasa (2) Sage Gautama (1) Sage Hardattpuri Bapu (1) Sage Kapila Avatar (1) Sage Karnva (1) Sage Markendeya (2) Sage Mrikandu (1) Sage Nara-Narayana Avatar (1) Sage Narada (4) Sage Sai Baba (1) Sage Shakti (1) Sage Swami Vivekananda (1) Sage Valmiki (1) Sage Vashishtha (2) Sage Viswamitra (2) Sage Vyasa (6) Sahadeva (4) sahastrarjun (1) Samudra Manthan (1) Sanat Kumar (1) Santoshi mata (1) Satarupa (1) Sati Ahilya (1) Saturn (1) Saturn in House (1) Satyavan (1) Savitri (1) Shakuni (3) Shakuntala (1) Shambhala (1) Shangri-La (1) Shankaracharya (1) Shiva & Shakati (2) Shivaratri (1) Shree Hari (1) Siddhashram (1) Sikhism (1) Sisupala (1) Snake King Takshaka (1) Srimad Bhagavatam (1) Tapti (1) temple (9) THE WIND GOD (1) Tibetan Lama (1) Tilottama (1) Tirupati Balaji (1) Top 10 Hindu Deities (1) Trayambakeshwar (1) Uttara (1) Vahana's (1) Valli (1) vaman avatar (1) VAYU DEVA (2) Vibhisana (2) Vidura (3) Yagna (1) Yaksha (1) yoga (2) Yudhisthira (10)

Share This