Ten days, ten avatars, each avatar representing a distinctive virtue of Maa Durga, Durga Puja is the time to be if you are craving to whoop up the vibrancy of the Eastern part of India!
The colorful alleys, the intricately designed facades, and the legen -wait for it- dary (certainly the long queues test every ounce of patience in your body but the wait is worth every sweat) pandals are a common sight across Bengal, Assam, Orissa, and other Eastern states during these ten days of revelry. People all over India amass these pandals to worship the deity and blend into the atmosphere replete with folks swaying in the Dhunuchi Naach, the pandits chanting Vedic hymns and so much more.

A typical pandal showcasing Maa Durga slaying the demon Mahishasura

The festival has unparalleled significance in Hindu mythology and is referred to in various instances across India. In some parts, it signifies the defeat of Mahishasura, a shape-shifting demon who was eventually trounced by Goddess Durga after a ten-day battle. Goddess Durga is said to be the incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi, and in some cultures, the nine avatars of Goddess Lakshmi admired across a span of nine days, which led to the term Navratri. In other parts of the country, since Lord Ram defeated the evil king Raavan after worshipping Goddess Durga on the 10th day, it is celebrated as Dussehra. During the Navratri, in the Western parts of the country, we can see people offering their obeisance to Goddess Durga by playing Garba and Dandiya raas, dance forms that involve a repeated pattern of quick movements and utilization of wooden sticks.

Alike the diversity in celebrations, IIT Kharagpur and VGSoM particularly has a diverse community of students, faculties, officers, and workers from the length and breadth of the nation. All united in their desire to create a homely feel and enjoy the festival, getting a first-hand experience of the different forms of celebrations. As the past two years of celebrations were marred due to the pandemic and the ensuing prohibition that resulted in campuses being shutdown, students were ecstatic to welcome Durga Puja/Navaratri 2022.
The end of the mid-semester exams could mean only one thing, stage was all set for some lit celebrations after a long hiatus. The Vikramshila foyer witnessed students dancing to peppy music by legends of Gujarati Garba music. People thronged the venue dressed in radiant chaniya cholis and dashing kurtas. The after-taste of the samosas, fafda, and jalebis was lingering among the participants even after the event ended as IIT Kharagpur was in Carpe Diem mode.

Some sneak peeks of the Garba Night!

For Pradip da who runs the tea stall at Azad hostel, Durga Puja had a different context. Mornings and afternoons were reserved for serving delicious Maggi along with tea to all those who were far away from home while evenings meant pandal-hopping across the campus and the city. Many on campus could relate to the latter part. With academic blocks closed post the end of mid-semester exams, inmates of the campus could be seen pandal hopping in groups in various parts of the city, immersing in the cultural heritage.

Decorated streets and hallways of the pandals on the occasion of Durga Puja

As we are in the Kalyug, the demons have become tinier yet deadlier, exemplified by the two rough years of the Covid-19 pandemic. Even then, humanity stayed put and battled its way out of the trench. Hence, it gives us the true sense of Vijaya Dashami, the victory of good over evil.

Curated by: Team CMI

Picture Credits: Riddhish Kathar, Yash Chandak, Shonali Sharma, Suchita Ghose

#VijayaDashami #Dussehra #MaaDurga #DurgaPuja #pandals #Festivals #MBA #Covid19 #IITKharagpur #IIT #VGSoM #HomeVGSoM #VGSoMVibes

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