The book is an introduction to Durga Puja, the grandest festival in eastern India, a celebration that provides a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of Bengal. It is also a ready reckoner of all aspects of the Puja-its mythical origins, its socio-cultural evolution, its economic ramifications and its elaborate rituals. Spiced up with anecdotes and trivia collected from journals and newspapers from the 19th century to the present day, It is a compendium of knowledge associated with the worship of the Mother Goddess, one of the oldest surviving Hindu traditions.
Durga Puja is said to be the festival of kings, so elaborate are the paraphernalia involved, the ingredients for mahasnan, the daily bath of the goddess, for instance, totals almost 75 items!
By 1840, the practice (of collection of subscriptions) had become such a menace, that the magistrate of 24-Parganas, Mr Patton, had to travel incognito in a palanquin to put an end to the subscription drive in Behala.
About the Author:
Sudeshna Banerjee is a journalist. She has been writing on Durga Puja for years and has also produced the script for a documentary film on the festival. A keen traveller, photographer and collector of stamps and coins, she lives with her family in Calcutta.