This year on the day of Saptami I paid a visit to Serampore to witness the Durga Puja of bonedi families. My first destination was Serampore Rajbari. Although I paid a visit earlier but this time it was a completely new experience because of Durga Puja.
A little more than an hour’s drive through Grand Trunk Road will land you to Serampore. This town has a rich history to offer. It was under Danish rule from 1755 to 1845. Ask anyone about Serampore Goswami Bari or Serampore Rajbari and they will show you. Durga Puja here is very famous and is of the oldest in the town. Entering through the entrance you will first spot a colossal structure – chandni or naatmandir.
The Chandni rests on twenty four Corinthian columns and measures an area of 120 feet by 30 feet. This area was previously a tank. An unfortunate event occurred for which the tank was filled up and the Chandni was built. It is a massive structure. When I went there I found people of all age groups. On entering you will spot the equally large thakurdalan on the right. The thakurdalan has stucco works at the top.
You will also spot structures of old gas lamps on both sides. The marble floors makes the dalan more beautiful. The protima is built in the thakurdalan following kathamo puja on the auspicious day of Rathyatra. The Kuladevata or family deity of the Goswamis is Radha Madhav Jiu. The puja is performed following three Puranas – Debi Puran, Brihat Nandikeshwar Puran and Kalika Puran.
The Nabapatrika is not bathed in the Ganges; rather it was bathed in the dalan on Saptami. Kumari Puja is held on Nabami. Apart from Durga Puja, Kali Puja, Lakshmi-Saraswati Puja, Dolyatra, Jhulanyatra, Janmastami and Rashyatra are also celebrated here. The Durga Puja started way back in 1684 A.D by Ramgobinda Goswami. This year the family is celebrating Durga Puja for the 338th year. I was told by Shri Sibasish Goswami, a family member that an amount of fifty rupees was spent for the Durga Puja in 1684 which includes the cost of the puja and other expenses. But the Goswami Thakurbari (known as Goswami Rajbari) was built sometime around 1720 to 1730 by Raghuram Goswami. The protima is unique and so like its chalchitra at the back. Maa Durga stands on a slightly raised platform made of marble.
Special thanks to Shri Sibasish Goswami.
Date of posting: 16th October, 2021.