Durga Puja follows the ritual of worshipping the Goddess Durga, the female form in Shakti. In India, this Hindu festival is observed in most of the regions of the country during September and October, in the month of Ashwin according to Hindu calendar. Transcending all communal boundaries, people of all races, cultures, religions, castes, creeds take part in the enjoyment and programmes related to this ‘puja’.
Although primarily Durga Puja is famous as a Bengali festival, called ‘Sharodotsav’, which is celebrated in a grand way for the last four days before and including Dushera, it is also celebrated by Gujarati people for nine day before Dushera, called ‘Navaratri’. Along with these, Bommai Golu in Tamil Nadu, Kullu Dussehra in Himachal Pradesh, Mysore Dushera is Karnataka, Bommala Koluvu in Andhra Pradesh –all these festivals are actually the different forms of Durga Puja.
The demographic character of Andaman and Nicobar Islands shows that the population of the Bengalese are more than any other. That’s why Durga Puja in Andaman receives a special treatment and organised in pompous way. There are more than one Bengali clubs which arrange grand programmes for this festival. Besides them, Tamilians, Keralites, Maharastrians and people from other region of mainland India, living there, participate in the arrangement and enjoyment.
The islands of festival, Andaman, is more populated and inhabited than Nicobar, the ‘puja’ is celebrated in different locations of Andaman only, especially in Port Blair. Junglighat, Atul Smriti, MES Haddo, Marine etc in Port Blair execute the festival in their own various ways. Along with these places, people in Rangat Bazaar, Chouldari Village, Bakultala, Kerala Samajam etc. observe the festival too.
People worship the goddess with utmost devotion by creating her idol along with her children’s –Ganesh, Saraswati, Laxmi and Kartikeya and their pet and carrier lion, mouse, swan, owl and peacock respectively. The islands are decorated with ribbons, pandals, lights, flowers and other decorative things. Everyone goes out to visit the pandals, taste foods of different cuisine, enjoy the festive mode floating in the air and all of these looks so colourful and happy. The enthusiasm in this Indian archipelago for Durga Puja celebration is nothing less than that in the Indian peninsula.