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400-year-old royal Durga Puja near Mangaldai

By CORRESPONDENT

MANGALDAI, Oct 15 � The Royal family of Koch dynasty celebrates the historical Durga Puja at Raja Howli of Koch King Prem Narayan Deb popularly known as �Thota Raja� with a nearly 400-year-old tradition with a five-day programme.

The significance of celebration of this Durga Puja at Gakhir Khowa Raja Howli, nearly four kilometres from here is that although the worship begins from �Maha Sasthi� as in the other puja mandaps, the idol of the goddess is opened for viewers only on the day of �Maha Ashtami unlike in the rest of the puja mandaps where viewers can have a look at the Goddess right from the day of �Maha Saptami�, said Ratna Narayan Deb, a senior member of the Royal family.

Moreover, the idol of the Goddess wears a special look with red colour being sprayed all over the face to symbolise the Goddess in a war-like situation. The king had a belief that with the blessings of Goddess Durga in this form called the �Rana Chandi�, he can win any war, the royal family member added.

The priests of this royal celebration also have a special tradition since only the Bhattacharya family from Nij Sarabari village have been taking the responsibility of priests generation wise, informed Purnananda Bhattacharya, the main priest of the Puja acquiring the tradition from his father and they believe that their next generation also would come forward to take the responsibilty. The sacrifice of buffalo calf is another significance of this celebration where religious rituals are given much importance than the outer decorations and Rupendra Nayan Deb, one of the Royal members sacrificed one calf of his own today on �Maha Astami� maintaining the age-old religious belief and tradition. Performance of traditional Ojapali music during the days of celebrations would also be witnessed ashas been done over the years.

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400-year-old royal Durga Puja near Mangaldai

MANGALDAI, Oct 15 � The Royal family of Koch dynasty celebrates the historical Durga Puja at Raja Howli of Koch King Prem Narayan Deb popularly known as �Thota Raja� with a nearly 400-year-old tradition with a five-day programme.

The significance of celebration of this Durga Puja at Gakhir Khowa Raja Howli, nearly four kilometres from here is that although the worship begins from �Maha Sasthi� as in the other puja mandaps, the idol of the goddess is opened for viewers only on the day of �Maha Ashtami unlike in the rest of the puja mandaps where viewers can have a look at the Goddess right from the day of �Maha Saptami�, said Ratna Narayan Deb, a senior member of the Royal family.

Moreover, the idol of the Goddess wears a special look with red colour being sprayed all over the face to symbolise the Goddess in a war-like situation. The king had a belief that with the blessings of Goddess Durga in this form called the �Rana Chandi�, he can win any war, the royal family member added.

The priests of this royal celebration also have a special tradition since only the Bhattacharya family from Nij Sarabari village have been taking the responsibility of priests generation wise, informed Purnananda Bhattacharya, the main priest of the Puja acquiring the tradition from his father and they believe that their next generation also would come forward to take the responsibilty. The sacrifice of buffalo calf is another significance of this celebration where religious rituals are given much importance than the outer decorations and Rupendra Nayan Deb, one of the Royal members sacrificed one calf of his own today on �Maha Astami� maintaining the age-old religious belief and tradition. Performance of traditional Ojapali music during the days of celebrations would also be witnessed ashas been done over the years.