Mahasasthi, the sixth day from the day of the new moon or Mahalaya, is the day on which the Durga Puja rituals actually begin. It is believed that on this day Goddess Durga arrives in the mortal world from her heavenly abode, accompanied by her children, Lakshmi, Saraswati, Kartik and Ganesh (seen beside Goddess Durga in the pandals).
Devi Bodhon or the unveiling of the goddess happens on the eve of Mahasasthi. It is also on this day that she is adorned with the various armaments which she had used to defeat Mahishasura. She is welcomed with much fanfare amidst the beats of dhak. The ritual of Kalaparambho precedes Bodhon, Aamontron and Adhibash.
There is a detailed method of worshipping Goddess Durga, mentioned in the scriptures. Specific items are needed for each day of Durga Puja. Items are collected beforehand so that the ritual can be performed smoothly.
Items needed for the Sashthi Puja of Goddess Durga
Food offerings: A stem of wood apple with fruits (bel), green coconut with stalk, an earthen bowl full of atop, three bowls of madhupakka, sesame seeds, curd, honey, clarified butter, sugar, three big noibiddos, one small noibiddo, ietms used for making the bhog or food offering to the goddess (bhoger drobbadi) and for the arati (aratir drobbadi), grains, fruits, one dozen bananas with a single stem and white mustard seeds.
Puja items: A pot, four arrows, two ashonanguriuk, panchapallab, pancharatna, panchashasha, panchagobbo, tekatha, dubba grass, sindur, swastik pituli, conch shell, kajol (kohl), gorachana, yellow thread, chamor, a fly-whisk made of yak’s tail used for fanning, earthen lamps, pancha pradip for arati.
Cloth offerings: A gamcha to cover the pot, a dhoti for the wood apple tree, a sari for Bodhon and another sari for Amontron.
Decorative items: Myrobalan, flowers, chandmala, adibas oil, turmeric, soil from the bank of river Ganga, perfume, stone, gold, silver, copper, iron, mirror and alta.
Lead image: clickingphotos.com|Anunoy Samanta