Monday, March 15, 2010

Durga Puja and Mithila
The festival of Durga Puja is very important for the Maithils. It is observed in the month of Ashwin during the first ten days of the brighter fortnight. Durga, the combined manifestation of all Shakti is worshipped along with her three counterparts namely Kali, Lakshmi and Saraswati, her consort Shiv, and her sons Kartik and Ganesh.
She is worshipped in every household, mostly at the Alter of the Family goddess (Gosownak Chinbaar) where a Shanti Kalash is kept and elaborate rituals are carried on for ten days. On the eighth and ninth day special offerings are made. Kheer, Puree and sweets (Patair) are offered to the deities, whereupon unmarried young Brahmin girls are worshipped and fed. In some households goat sacrifice is also prevalent.
The tradition of worshipping clay idols at Durga-puja is very old in Mithila as within the Banaili family it had been started by Parmanand Chaudhary at Amour-Garh, as early as 1750. At every residential set-up of the family, a hall of worship called the Devighara was built for the annual Puja of goddess Durga. Expert artisans, who lived within the estate, made and decorated several clay idols for the Durga-puja.
In the old district of Darbhanga the earliest clay Idol worship was started at village Navtol. Later Maharajadhiraja Rameswar Singh started Durga puja with great fanfare at Rajnagar. Durga Puja at Singhbaar and Pindaruch were also very famous.