Jagadhatri Puja or Jagdhatri Puja is one of the most popular and exclusive Pujas of West Bengal. Jagadhatri is a form of devi (Protector of the world) and is widely worshiped in every nook and corner of West Bengal. It is very well known in Hooghly district of the state. Jagadhatri Puja is more popular in Chandannagar, Rishra, Konnagar and Howrah.
Jagadhatri is a incarnation of Goddess Durga. In Sanskrit, Jagadhatri means 'Holder (dhatri) of the World (Jagat) the festival is celebrated a month after Dussehra and Durga Puja celebrations. The 10 days Puja is similar to the grand Durga Puja.
Jagadhatri Puja was started by Sarada Devi (wife of Ramakrishna). She was believed to be the reincarnation of Goddess Durga and is still worshiped in Ramakrishna Mission all over the world. Jagadhatri Puja is celebrated with great vigour and joy.
In Anandmath (a semi-historical fiction written by Bankim Chandra Chatterjee), Kali, Durga and Jagaddhatri are depicted as three aspects of 'Bharat Mata' (Mother India); Jagaddhatri as the mother used to be, Kali as the mother now is, Durga as the mother will be in future
Huge pandals and beautiful idols of Jagadhatri are decorated with lights and flowers. The idols are decked up with red saree and gold ornaments. If you see the idol of Jagadhatri, you will not find Mahisasura. She holds a conch and a bow in her two left hands and a chakra and a five-headed arrow in her two right hands and Her mount is a tiger. So, basically Jagadhatri is a calm form of Devi.
Jagadhatri is known as the 'holder' of the world. It is believed that if She is not there, then the world would fall down. In Pauranik lore of the Hindu scriptures, the devatas became proud after the victory of Maa Durga over Mahisasura. Lord Brahma (creator of the Universe) took the avatar of Yaksha to control the rising ego of the Devatas. The devatas thought that lending their instruments and weapons made Durga immensely powerful to help kill King Mahisasura. Thus to make the devatas understand that the primordial power is the sole reason behind the victory over evil, Lord Brahma took this avatar.
Yaksha placed a blade of grass and when the devatas approached him to show their power, Yaksha asked them to move or burn the grass. Starting from Vayu (God of Wind) to Agni (God of Fire), one by one, all the Gods failed to move or burn the grass. This dawned that the supreme power as protecting mother, holds the entire creation and is therefore called Jagadhatri. Thus, worshiping Goddess Jagadhatri makes one egoless and a true servant of the world.
The 10 days festival is splendidly celebrated in Chandannagar, Rishra, Konnagar and Howrah. Traditional Bengali dance and Rabindra Sangeet performances are done to celebrate the Puja. The Puja hopping is at its peak on the last 3 days. In Odisha, Jagadhatri Mela is conducted like Rath Yatra.