Basanti Puja- Spring Durga Puja of Bengal

Basanti Puja Dates 2015

Wednesday 25 March to Sunday 29 March

Basanti Puja- as the name suggests- is observed in the season of Spring (Basant is the Hindi name of Spring). This puja is performed in the month of Chaitra in Bengali calendar which corresponds to March-April of English calendar. Basanti Puja is an age old Bengali festival when Goddess Durga is worshiped by Bengali community in Kolkata as well as other parts of India where Bengali families live in large numbers. However, Basanti Durga Puja has lost its utmost importance since the time when Lord Rama is believed to have done untimely Durga Puja in Autumn – the famous Shardiya Durga Puja, celebrated in the Months of Ashwin or Kartik (September-October) at the same time when Navratri is celebrated in other parts of India.

Basanti Puja Dates in 2015

Basanti Puja in 2015 will be celebrated from 25 March to 29 March 2015.

  • Basanti Puja, Shasthi – Wednesday 25 March 2015
  • Basanti Puja, Saptami – Thursday 26 March 2015
  • Annapurna Puja, Ashtami- Friday 27 March 2015
  • Basanti Navami Puja, also Ramnavami- Saturday 28 March 2015
  • Basanti Puja, Dashami – Sunday 29 March 2015

Origin of Basanti Puja in Bengal

Basanti Durga PujaIt is believed that King Surath performed the first ever Durga Puja in Spring after getting instructions from Sage Medha. The legend in Markanda Puran states that King Surath had lost his kingdom and wandered in the forests where he met Samadhi Vaishya who also had lost kingdom. In the jungle, they met Medha Muni who on request suggested them to perform Basanti Durga Puja to get back their lost kingdoms. King Surath and Samadhi Vaishya, thus, performed Basanti Puja and got back their kingdoms. This started the ritual of performing Basanti Durga in Basant season or Chaitra Month.

Difference Between Basanti Puja and Shardiya Durga Puja

The difference between the two Durga Pujas- Basanti Puja and Sharadiya Durga Puja- lie in their origin and time of celebration, rituals remain the same. Shardiya Puja is said to have first performed by Lord Rama in Autumn. At that time, Durga Puja was celebrated in Spring after being initiated by King Surath many years back. Lord Rama is believed to have performed ‘Akalbodhan’ (‘Akal’= untimely and ‘Bodhan’= awakening) to seek Goddess Durga’s blessings for defeating Ravana. Since then, due to popularity of lord Rama, his devotees started celebrating Durga Puja in ‘Sharad’ or Autumn season. This relegated Basanti puja to near oblivion. Basanti Puja, however, is still performed in few Bengali households while observing all the ritual of Durga Puja.

Basanti Puja Rituals

Basanti Puja RitualsThe rituals of Basanti Puja are similar to those of Shardiya Durga Puja. The only difference is in the usage of  ‘Ghat’ (‘घट’ or ঘট – Kalash- कलश, কলশ or earthern/metal pot) for ‘Bodhan’ (awakening Goddess Durga). The ‘Ghat’ is not used in Sashti puja because this puja is performed on time when it is meant to be done. ‘Akal Bodhan’ or ‘untimely awakening of Durga’ is done on Sashti during Shardiya Durga Puja.

Grand Durga Idols with the idols of Goddessess Saraswati and Lakshmi and idols of Gods Ganesha and Kartik are worshiped on Sashti, Saptami, Ashtami, and Navami. Kumari Puja is also done on Ashtami where little girls are given importance by worshipping them and by offering them a variety of foods, clothes, sweets etc. The Idols are then immersed in water on the day of Dashami. This is called ‘Bisarjan’- a ritual representing farewell to Goddess Durga and her family.

Just like Basanti Puja in East India, Chaitra Navratri is celebrated in North India for nine days beginning on the first day of Chaitra month and culminating on the ninth day- the Ram Navami day!

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1 comment for “Basanti Puja- Spring Durga Puja of Bengal

  1. Kamal Laha
    August 11, 2012 at 11:10 am

    Nicely described.

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