Thursday, 31 October 2013

Age-old Dipali festival gets off in Barisal, Bangladesh

The Hindu community across the district will observe Shamshan Dipali Utsav at Maha Shamshanghat on friday, plus Dipabali and Diwali Utsav in their houses.
The special religious festival of Barisal Hindu community has a history of traditional worship of more than 160 years dating back in 1850.
The religious fervour takes place at the night before Kali Puja for blessings of the departed souls of near and dear ones.
Narayan Chandra Dey Naru, secretary, Barisal Maha Shamshan Rakkha Committee, said the Hindu community had been observing Maha Shamshan Dipali festival since 1850 only in Aadi Shamshan Ghat of Natun Bazaar and Maha Shamshan Ghat of Kawnia, two crematoriums in Barisal city.  
Thousands of people from across the district attend the festival every year.
From Thursday, devotees started offering flowers and foods through rituals (Puja) and special prayers at the Shamshan Ghat for eternal blessings of the departed souls of their dear and near ones.
The organisers of the festival said several “Fanus” – colourful gas-filled Balloons, would be released in the sky at the night of Maha Shamsan Dewali at the Shamshan Ghats.
The religious festivity will also be marked by an arrangement of fair in the area accommodating stalls for sweetmeats and traditional toys.
The Maha Shamshan Ghats at Kawnia Marokkhola and Aadi Shamshan Ghat of the Natun Bazar areas in the city will see thousands of members of Hindu community pour in from across the district.

The houses of the Hindus would be decorated with lighting on this occasion.
The act of worship of Maha Shamshan Kali would start from early Saturday and the entire crematorium would be decorated. Security has been intensified by the law enforcers.
The lawmen were patrolling the city roads leading down to the Shamshan Ghats for ensuring safety and security of the devotees and maintaining peaceful interreligious harmony and coexistence, said Md Shamsuddin, Barisal Metropolitan Police Commissioner.
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Saturday, 12 October 2013

For puja at this Dhaka temple, door’s open to all

Jaideep Mazumdar, TNN | Oct 13, 2013, 05.49 AM IST
DHAKA: She gave Dhaka her name. And though she has been attacked several times she remains an inspiring example of communal integration in Bangladesh. The best time to witness this is during Durga puja. The 800-year-old Dhakeshwari temple is like no other Hindu temple in the world. The national flag of Bangladesh is hoisted here every morning and even flies at half mast during official mourning.

Durga puja at Dhakeshwari too is unique in many ways. It is a must-visit for not only the country's estimated 140 lakh Hindus, but also for the vast majority of Muslims here. Senior politicians of both the Awami League and the Bangladesh National Party make it a point to drop by and greet puja revellers here.

The long queues waiting to be served the rich bhuna khichuri served on Ashtami include Muslims too. Bijoya Sammilani (the post-puja social and cultural gathering) held in the temple grounds is a major event in Dhaka's cultural calendar. "Durga Puja, for us, is an occasion to do some social service and strengthen bonds between members of other communities," says Bashudeb Dhar, the president of the Mahanagar Sarbojonin Puja Committee that oversees the 212 community pujas.

Prominent members of all communities, including Buddhists and Christians, are invited to participate in the festivities. But the committee also reaches out to the general public by offering free meals and organizing community initiatives. The secular nature of Durga puja in Dhaka is a strong and time-tested, says Dhar. "There have been attempts to destroy this secular culture. Our participation in Durgotsav is important to defeat these attempts," says Mohammad 'Montu' Naseem, a prominent businessman. Prominent Muslims serve on the organizing committees of most pujas here. "Pujas are an integral part of our cultural and religious heritage and we must fight all attempts to destroy it," says Awami League leader Abdul Qadir Nissar.

The original Durga idol at the temple, the ten-armed Dasabhuja, was smuggled out to Kolkata in 1947. The replacements were destroyed thrice, the first time by the Pakistani army in March 1971, and then by Islamic hardliners in 1975 and 1990. But none of that managed to shake Dhaka's love for the temple.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Shuva Durga Puja

Sarbajanin Durga Puja has been started in Bangladesh and all over the world. Tomorrow Thursday is Saptami. According to The Daily Ittefaq, there are more that 28000 Durga mandaps have been set up in Bangladesh. Among them 214 mandaps are in Dhaka that is 10 more mandaps than last year. 14th Oct is government holiday in Bangladesh for Bijoya Dashami.
Happy Durga Puja.