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Voice Of Bengal::Travel::WestBengalFestival
Durga Puja in Bengal, Dassera and Navratri in other parts of India, celebrate the universal resurgence of the power of creation over destruction. It is the most popular festival in Bengal, celebrating the victory of Ma Durga over the buffalo demon and of good over evil. The festivities stretch over a period of ten days. The traditional image of the Bengali Durga follows the iconographic injunction of the Shastras. The tableau of Durga with her four children ? Kartik, Ganesh, Saraswati and Lakshmi, representing respectively the Protector, the Initiator of the Puja, Knowledge and the provider ? signifies the complete manifestation of the goddess. The first recorded Durga Puja seems to have been celebrated by Bhabananda, the ancestor of Maharaja Krishnachandra of Nadia, in or about 1606. The family puja of the Sabarna Chouduris of Barisha dates back to 1610 ? the oldest in Calcutta, and conducted even today in a highly traditional style. Durga puja broke free from the pillared cortiles at Guptipara in Hugli District when twelve angry young men were stopped from taking part in a household puja. They formed a twelve-man committee, which held the first public or community Durga Puja by subscription. Hence such pujas came to be called baroari (baro ? twelve yar ? friend). "

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