On the nine-day (Navami) long Durga Puja festival, the pandal and idols have opened for public viewing (darshan).
Outside the pandal on Kanke road, near the post office of Ranchi University, colourful gates have been put up.
Each of these gates carries an advertisement put by the company to showcase its product bringing to light the money transaction between the company and Durga Pandal.
The money transaction is indicative of a change in the process of fundraising to install the Durga Puja pandal. In the past, the organisers went from door to door of the common man and businessmen to collect chanda( donation).
Now, while the old process continued, the fund was gained from the company to organise Durga Puja pandal.And in turn,the company put up gates to advertise its product. “
Most companies give donations by transferring money from their bank to the Durga Puja organiser body.
This is a transparent system helping the fund provider to get IT rebate too”, said an advertising company. Another visible is one glimpse of the idol near Machli Ghar where the organiser of Durga Puja has replicated Chandrayaan-3.
It has come down to a Durga Puja marquee there, as its organisers replicated India's successful moon mission to enthrall pandal hoppers. In the pandal, the goddess is seen standing inside a replica of the 'Vikram', the lander of Chandrayaan-3. "This is how we want to celebrate Durga Puja.
Artists wanted to show Hindus’ respect to all scientists of ISRO and how all are proud of their achievement," said the organiser. In any case the scene across Ranchi is enough to recharge viewers for a whole year. It is important to still follow safety protocols.
The artisans, decorators and idol makers (sometimes of different religious faiths themselves) have spent countless hours to create the magic of the heavens on earth.
In 2022 people saw the migrant Durga and Doctor Durga slaying Coronasur as just a few examples of that amazing creativity; there is more this year. While visitors appreciate the hard work of fine artistry and creativity, the artists invoke Durga in her 6th avatar as KATYAYANI, the warrior goddess.
She is also present in Buddhist and Jain traditions and is one of the many ferocious forms of Adi Shakti who slays negative ego, fear, material desires and those inner demons that obstruct our path to moksha.
The daughter of Katyayan Rishi (hence her name, Katyayani) blesses devotees with dharma, artha, kama, moksha and also liberates those who have no worldly desires. She usually has 4 arms (although 8 has also been noticed in some depictions) and along with the lotus, she carries a sword (or trident sometimes).
Legend has it that she was created out of the anger of all the divine forms! There is a huge importance of anger in the Durga/Goddess iconography. She commands the planet Jupiter. Her temples are more common and can be found in Vrindavan, Tanjore, Karnataka, Kerala. Don't forget the Chhattarpur temple in Delhi dedicated to this form of the Goddess.
Let people enjoy the pandaal darshan, revel in the creativity of the Durga idols, relish all the delicacies, soak in all the spirituality, reflect on the precarity of life, meditate and never forget to reach out and seek blessings for all those less privileged than us (who may not even have the luxury of being able to celebrate the festival in ways middle or lower middle class people can). Prayer and meditation can be luxuries too, sometimes.
As for the ever happening food wars in India esp. during festivals, please let us respect all traditions. Fasting vegetarians/vegans should be respected for their beliefs and piety.
There are many kinds of fasting too and for many Durga Puja is all about multiple cuisines, fun and gaiety. The very essence of Hinduism is diversity and traditions rich and varied. No narrative gets precedence over others!
Those not aware of this enormous celebration in Jharkhand or across India and South Asia and among expats, and who are curious about all this fuss, join in the fun and celebrate the Goddess festival in your own way.
Goddesses are part of so many cultural traditions. Feel free to greet your Hindu friends, esp. if they are away from their homes and family.
Unleash your creativity through artwork, poetry, singing, dancing, writing. A visitor sent all his greetings from the beautiful city of Addis Ababa in Ethiopia.
Today is a different kind of festival day for the residents of Addis too. Apparently, traffic is severely restricted in the city due to people's movements.
Clearly, in every pandal Durga Goddess is powered by advertisements put up by private companies, a sign of change in developing the Durga Puja festival in India.
1. Advertisements carrying gates outside Durga Puja pandal in Kanke Road, Ranchi
2. Durga Puja marquee near Machli ghar in Ranchi replicated India's successful moon mission by ISRO