Durga Puja, being the greatest festival of the Bengalees is celebrated in many households of Bengal for more than a century. One such household is the Roychowdhury family of Baruipur in South 24 Parganas district. About a mile from Baruipur railway station, this puja will definitely take you back to three centuries. An old structure which has got a fresh coat of paint due to the festival will welcome you inside the courtyard where you will witness the old durga dalan.
The Durga Puja here is more than three hundred years old. The puja was started by Rajballav Roychowdhury. The protima is built in the durga dalan by the artisans of Krishnanagar and the kathamo puja is held on the day of Rathayatra. It is interesting to note that the artisans, dhakis, priests and people associated with immersion are doing their respective duties for generation.
The puja starts here from the day of pratipad. The puja is performed following Shakta rituals and hence animal sacrifice is followed here during the days of the puja. Apart from Durga Puja, the other festivals which are performed here are Rathayatra, Kali Puja and Rashyatra. During the Rash festival, a large fair is held in Rash math. There also an old Kali temple just on the back of durga dalan where daily worship is performed and special puja includng bali (goat sacrifice) is held on each new moon (Amavasya).
I was told by Shri Amiya Krishna Roychowdhury, family member that about forty persons carry the protima to the Sadabrata ghat, which, at one point of time was connected to Adi Ganga, the old course of Ganges. Earlier there was custom of flying Indian Roller bird (nilkantha) in Dasami but now the practice has been stopped.
How to go: Take the Sealdah-Baruipur local or Sealdah-Lakshmikantapur local or even Sealdah-Diamond Harbour local and get down at Baruipur Junction. Rickshaw or auto from the station will take you to Rash math. Alternatively, one can also come by car. In that case the Rash math will be on the left.
Special thanks to Sri Amiya Krishna Roychowdhury and Shri Anupam Maity.
Date of posting: 9th October, 2022.