Durga Puja, being the greatest festival of the Bengalees is not only celebrated in puja pandals as barowari puja but it is equally celebrated in households across Bengal.
We all know that in 2021 Durga Puja was declared as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity by UNESCO. There are a lot of households where Durga Puja was being celebrated for more than two centuries without any break. One such house was Dutta Bari of 55, Pramanik Ghat Road in Baranagar. Durga Puja was started way back in 1180 Bangabda which corresponds to 1773 as per the English year.
Durga Puja in Dutta Bari was started by Janakiram Dutta, grandson of Parasuram Dutta, a resident of Adi Saptagram. The puja is being celebrated in the dalan though the same has undergone renovation a number of times. Each year before the puja, it gets a fresh coat of paint. The bodhan starts here from the day of pratipad. Once the nabapatrika reaches the dalan after getting bathed in the nearby Ganges, Saptami puja starts here. The family deity – Kula Lakshmi, who resides in the next house, reaches the durga dalan and the same is placed on the right of Maa Durga. As far as the idol of Goddess Durga is concerned, it is not the traditional Durga idol which we normally witness but rather the Durga is worshipped in Dutta Bari in the form of Shiva-Durga with her two sakhis – Jaya and Bijaya on both the sides. There is no lion here. Lord Shiva sits on an ox. I was told by Shri Somnath Dutta, a family member that though previously the idol was prepared in this thakurdalan but now the same is brought from outside.
The puja is performed here following the Shakta rituals but there was no sacrifice (bali). Previously this practice was followed; but the same was stopped for more than a century. Dhuno porano, a ritual practiced in many household pujas is performed in the courtyard during Astami. Sandhi puja, an important part of Durga Puja is meticulously performed here and I was informed that two naibidyas instead of one are offered to the goddess. Kumari Puja is held here on the day of Nabami.
The chalchitra has stories from Shiva puran. Previously it was prepared from clay but now the same is painted on paper. The family deity of Dutta bari is Madhusudan Jiu (Narayan) who is worshipped in the dalan from the day of pratipad till the end of Subho Chandi puja on ekadashi tithi.
How to reach: From Gopal Lal Thakur Road, turn left to Pramanik Ghat Road. You will have to move through a market. Just less than a five minute walk will land you to Dutta Bari on your right.
Special thanks to Shri Somnath Dutta.
Date of posting: 1st October, 2022.