On Tuesday, I went to the temple yesterday after my classes, for Maha Ashtami Puja. It is the 8th day of Durga Puja, almost towards the end (only two more days to go). It so refreshing to sit in at a puja after quite some time. The sounds of women ululating, the clang of the bells, the booming sounds of the dhaak playing. The tinkling of the priest’s ghonta bell mingling with the verses and chants that he recited for the blessings and protection of the people of the world. The smells of incense, fresh flowers, and oil lamps. Getting drenched in shantir-jol (holy water that brings piece to those showered by it - literally translates to peace-giving water). And finally, the delicious bhog or offerings that we ate afterwards — hot khichuri and luchis and sweets. It was just lovely.
Today is the actual last day of Durga Puja, Vijay Dashami. Today all over India, the statues of Durga are immersed in bodies of water, and it is said that she returns to her home in the Kailash Mountains.
This weekend we will be celebrating Durga Puja in my local Bengali community with much pomp and grandeur. New clothes to wear (new saris!!!), good food, and all of my good friends and family. I can’t wait! :D