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As Durga Puja is around the corner, Bengalis around the world are gearing up to celebrate the most famous festival with grandeur. Durga Puja is a very special and auspicious festival for every Bengali because this brings the whole community together and is celebrated across India with the same love and devotion. This year Durga puja will be celebrated from 22-26 October.
Mahalaya signifies the onset of Durga Puja and it commences seven days from Mahalaya. From the dhaak (double-sided drum) beats and 'Shiuli' or 'Kash' flowers to clay idols of Kumortuli and crowds on the streets, every Bengali can resonate with these signs that Durga Puja is around the corner.
1. Kash phool (Kans grass)
Kash phool, which is scientifically known as Saccharum spontaneum is a grass native to the Indian subcontinent. It grows in India, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Bhutan. Kashphool and Durga Puja are inseparable as these flowers are the sign of festivity for the people in West Bengal.
2. Shiuli phool (Parijat flower or the night-flowering jasmine)
Shiuli phool also signifies the arrival of Durga Puja or Durgautsav. Puja is incomplete without the use of these flowers. The fresh essence of these flowers gives every Bengali the feeling that Durga Ma is coming.
3. Mahalaya by Birendra Krishna Bhadra
Listening to the recording of Mahalaya recited by late Birendra Krishna Bhadra is like a ritual for every Bengali. Switching on the radio or FM at 4 am in the morning and listening is no less than a blessing and brings immense joy. On the day of Mahalaya, Bengalis listen to Birendra Krishna Bhadra's recitation of the holy verses and tell the story of how Goddess Durga came to be known as Mahishasura Mardini. Every year, it is broadcasted on local television channels, and radio.
4. Puja Editions of Magazines
The Puja special edition of magazines can also be considered as a hint that Durga Puja is near. Different kind of stories, fashion tips and ideas on how to ace the Durga Puja look during the seven days are mentioned in the magazines, which are enough to make anyone excited about the festival.
5. The clay idols of Kumartuli
When Durga Puja is round the corner, the artisans of Kumartuli start working on the clay idols of Ma Durga and bring it to life with their immense creativity. It won't be wrong to say that without the potters' colony of Kolkata, this festival is incomplete.
6. Mishti (Sweets)
All Bengalis are foodies and mishti is more than a sweet for them, it is an emotion. Different types of sweets and desserts are made, which marks the onset of Durga Puja. This time of the year is a gastronomical feast for every Bengali. If you are passing by the sweetshop, you can smell the fragrance of freshly made jalebis, mishti doi, langcha, rasgulla, and sandesh and others, which are the famous sweets of West Bengal.
7. Crowds on the streets
No matter where you go during this time of the year, you will find flood of people. There will be crowd in every corner of the street when Durga Puja is about to arrive as people become busy buying beautiful attires for themselves and their loved ones. At night, the whole city is lighted up because of the decorated lights on the streets, which also marks the arrival of Durga Puja.
Every year during this time, the city of joy turns into a hub of togetherness. The fun and fervour cannot be replicated and you will definitely fall in love with the pulse of Durga Puja if you visit Bengal.