The Special Idol at Historic Laha Bari Durga Puja | WBRi Kolkata Bonedi Barir Pujo Report

Calcutta, Sep 1, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio / IBNS) It is believed that the "Laha Bari Durga Puja" had begun in this city nearly 170 years ago. But several stories and believes are associated with the origin of the puja and the founder member.

Some believe that it was Ishwar Pran Krishna Low (pronounced as Laha), who had performed Durga Puja for the first time in this family, but many other people think considers that it was Sri Rajiblochan Low, Pran Krishna's father, who started it nearly 200 years ago.

A factor that makes the festival and the ritual completely different lies in the uniqueness of the shape of the goddess Durga. Here, in this particular puja, Durga is seen in the arms of Lord Shiva and her eyes are closed shut. The reasons being, Mother Durga bestowed a lot of wealth to the Low family.

But the uniqueness lies not only in the deity but also in the rituals followed the family while performing the puja.

The rituals commence on Saptami morning when the family idol, Jaya Jaya Maa arrives at the Natmandir. Goddess Durga is considered as the other form of this household goddess.

Unlike many of the traditional families in Kolkata where the Durga Puja is organized, in this family the ritual of animal sacrifices are not performed but vegetable and fruit sacrifices are done.

On Dashami the Goddess is not carried on the shoulders as is done traditionally during immersion but she is carried in the arms of men who have been performing this task as a part of family lineage.

Interestingly, on the day of Dashami, when the goddess is immersed in the Ganga, the main gate of the Laha Bari remains closed.

It is only after the immersion when someone calls out to the Goddess thrice from outside to ensure whether she is still there, the door is opened. This traditional ritual has an interesting anecdote to reveal.

It was in the fourth generation of the family, Ishwar Durga Charan Low, who was washing his face after the immersion of the Goddess was continuously being disturbed by a little girl looking for some alms. Unable to complete his bath peacefully he shoos the little girl away but later when he looks for her to perhaps give her something he finds her nowhere and found the main gate open. He believed that the little girl was no one but Goddess Durga herself.


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