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India is a country of festivals. Here different festivals are celebrated with lots of colors and joys. You can find many new festivals in every state of India. Following this rule North Bengal is blessed with Basanti Puja.
The festival of Basanti Puja is also known as Vasant Durga Puja and it is observed during Chaitra Navratri or sometime in the mid of April. This festival is not so popular like Kathik Masa or Ashwin but has its own value and there are strong historical evidences behind the cause of this auspicious occasion.
This festival is similar to Sharadotsav and is held during the last four days of Vasant Navratri. Many rituals are followed during Durga Puja are also followed in Vasant Durga Puja, these are Ghatsthapana (Literally meaning installing a pot having a symbol of Goddess Shakti) and worshiping girl child i.e. Kumari Puja. A pot having images of Goddess Durga embosses on the sides of its placed in the room of Puja room. This pot is placed on the bed of sand, the ritual is performed on the very first day of Navaratri.
It is also believed that Lord Shri Rama has also changed the period of Devi Durga Puja i.e. Durga Navratri i.e. from Ashwin to Chaitra Masa. During the time of Ravan – Ram Yudh i.e. the war among the demon Ravana and Lord Ram, Lord Rama was unable to stop Demon Ravana, so for seeking the blessings of Goddess Durga he worshipped her. For that Lord Rama invoked Goddess Durga during the month of Hindu Ashwin or Ashwayuja i.e. the period between September or October. After that he successfully achieved the victory over Ravana.
According to Hindu Mythology it is described that the observance of Durga Navratri in the month of Ashwin month as Akal Bodhan of Goddess Durga. Lord Sri Rama also worshipped the Goddess in an untraditional Hindu month of Ashwayuja masam.
ORIGIN OF BASANTI PUJA IN BENGAL
For the festival of Basanti Puja, it is believed that the King Surath has performed the first ever Durga Puja in the Spring, after getting the instructions from the Sage Mesha. Also, according to the legend in Markanda Puran, it is stated that the king Surath has also lost his kingdom and wandered in the forests. His met Samadhi Vaishya has also lost his kingdom. In the Jungle they both met Medha Muni, who suggested them to perform Basanti Durga Puja for getting back their lost kingdoms. So the Samadhi Vaishya and King Surath performed Basanti Puja and got back their lost kingdoms. So this is that start of ritual of performing Basanti Durga Puja in North Bengal, during the season of Chaitra Month.
BASANTI PUJA RITUALS
Basanti Puja rituals are very similar to Shardiya Durga Puja. But the only difference is in “Ghat” for Bodhan, which is not used in Shashti Puja. This is because this Puja is performed on time when only it is meant to be done.
I hope this post of mine will clear the facts and ritual behind Basanti Puja in North Bengal. If you have more knowledge regarding this festival then please share with us in the comments.