Time of the year :- The ruling to perform the special Puja of the goddess on the ninth lunar day of the light fortnight in the month 'Kartick' (autumn) has been mentioned in Krityatattarnab by Srinath Acharyachuramoni of the 15-16th century. It is the time of the year when the weather is at its moderate best giving the air a festive touch.
Devoted to : Mother Jagadhatri.
Reason of Celebration : Culture mirrors the truest reflection of the entity and identity of individuals as well as the society and the nation. The epithet "Unity in Diversity" finds best expression perhaps in the sphere of India's cultural front.
The formal difference between Durga and Jagadhatri occurs in Tantra Literatures. It is that between Devi Durga and Jagatdhatri lies in Maya Tantra and Jagatdhatri is mentioned with reference to Durga in Krishnanda’s “Tantra saar”.
.The familiar sound of Dhak, Dhunuchi nachh, the mild fragrance of Sheuli, gives a familiar tug at every Bengali heart. It was organised and financed by the landlords and the business barons and was participated by all sections of people.
Jagatdhatri Puja, one of the most important festivals of Bengalis is the worship of 'Shakti' or the divine power. It is celebrated throughout the state, but with great grandeur in Chandannagar
Description of the Deity:-
The hour of the Goddesses is at hand and Bengal awaits them expectantly. Once a year, in the autumnal month. The four-handed goddess is carried by the lion everywhere, an elephant lies at the feet of the lion. The idol has an old fashioned shaping, i.e. the face cutting is of a longish pattern; it has large eyes spread up to the ears and the four hands display the conch, the discus, the shaft and the bow respectively. The snake is her sacred thread. She is seated on Lotus. The potter's technique of building the idol is commendable indeed.
Rituals of Jagatdhatri Puja:-
The word 'Jagatdhatri' means “The Protector of the World”. It is basically a festival with a long series of rituals followed on every day of the Puja. Like Durga Puja, this Deity is also worshipped for three consecutive days (saptami, ashtami, navami - the 7th, 8th and 9th day)..
The main Puja starts from Shashthi with Devi’s “bodhon” rituals when the face of the Devi is unveiled. The idol of the goddess is placed on a raised platform in a previously erected enclosure. The priest ceremonially establishes life, which is called “Pran –Pratishtha” in the clay image and from now on till Dashami, the image is treated as the goddess herself.
Saptami is the first day of Puja.. The main Saptami Puja follows Mahasnan.
Universally accepted as the culminating point of the four day of celebrations. The Devi is worshipped in the form of Wealth, Sustenance, Good Luck and Prosperity. Devotees recite the mantras and offer flowers to Devi (pushpanjali) and pray for her blessings.. Ashtami Bhog is the food offered to Devi which is later distributed among the devotees.
Navami is considered doubly auspicious, as the goddess is believed to have been conceived and sent to earth by the gods on this day. Rituals of animal sacrifices are held, but animals are now substituted with 'chalkumro' (type of pumpkin), cucumber and banana.
The tenth day is called Vijayadashmi (the victorious tenth day). The idol of the goddess is taken to the river to be immersed on this day. With the immersion, the ten-day festivities come to an end. The immersion ceremony is called "Bishorjon".
This festival celebrates the victory of good over evil. The yearly visit of the goddess is thought to bring well-being and happiness to the people. Because of her auspicious presence, in many Hindu families- no meat or alcohol is consumed at this time. The city and the suburbs of Kolkata almost never sleep during these five days and enjoy a lot. All, irrespective of caste, creed and religion, participate in this great festival, giving rise to a brotherly spirit.
The beat of drums, the clash of cymbals, the ringing of bells, dances before the image of Devi, incense wafting in the air, all form an integral part of the Puja. All too soon on Dashami, the day when the images are taken in a procession and immersed in the river Hooghly. Bengalis go back to their mundane lives to wait another year to welcome the goddess.
Decoration of the Idols:-
The images of Goddess are generally made on forms of straw and bamboo, covered with clay. Local artisans are involved in making beautiful clay images of the goddess. Traditionally the images were carved out of white Indian cork, a very difficult technique. One of the main attractions of Jagadhatri idol is of the ornamental decoration of the goddess with sola and beautiful canvas of mats with painting at the back of the image Today, cork is only used to make her crown and ornaments. The idol is then adorned in a traditional red sari and ornaments, as befitting a married Hindu woman. Kumartuli and Krishnanagar, two small towns on the outskirts of Kolkata, are very popular sources of making the idols.
Puja Pandals :-
The images of Goddess Jagadhatri are then display in elaborates altars or Puja Pandals. Families, institutions like colleges and universities, even entire streets, get together months before Puja to collect money for their revered shrines. The carnival with its light and colour attracts all the communities from other states and abroad – thus attaining a secular nature. The people of Chandannagar celebrate this carnival with images gorgeously decorated with “shola” – pith ornaments in brilliantly and innovating lit Puja Pandals. Furthermore, on the day of immersion, traditional processions with colourful tableaux, music, and lights etc. adds to the grandeur of the Carnival.
There are literally hundreds and hundreds of Puja Pandals in Kolkata and in its suburbs. To make things easier, newspapers send out their teams and publish lists that who is the best Pandals in town. These are normally covered by special coach tours.
The Pandals (temporary structures) and the idols carry distinct class of their intricate design, decoration and size; some idols rise as high as three storied buildings. The main attraction is at night, when the town dresses up with exquisite and fabulous light shows depicting different events from mythology to recent happenings, from Beijing Olympics to the characters of the Ramayana. The colourful electric bulbs spark art work and speak their own language delighting the visitors. This form of art has placed Chandannagar in a distinct position in the cultural heritage map of Bengal.
The immersion procession is really memorable and enjoyable sight to witness which lakhs of people throng in the Ganges of Chandannagar and Babughat from far and near. The beautiful decorated tall images loaded on trucks are taken around the city in a procession. Ferry boats on the river Ganges are available for commute by boat, and, life guard rescue boats work on extended hours.
There are various ways in which Ma Jagatdhatri is worshipped. It is celebrated with special festivities in the eastern part of India, especially in West Bengal..
The tradition of celebrating the Jagadhatri Puja began in Chandannagar in West Bengal which was then under French rule around 1750. It became a major socio-cultural and traditional event in that region.
Now a days ..it has become equally popular all over Kolkata too.