Jagatdhatri Puja

Jagatdhatri : 20th Century / Studio : Unknown (Probably Chorebagan Art Studio)

Jagatdhatri Puja is a famous Hindu festival celebrated in the month of Kartik (October- November) in West Bengal and Orissa, India. Jagatdhatri or Jagaddhatri meaning the holder (dhatri) of the World (Jagat), is an incarnation of the goddess Durga or Parvati. She is the manifestation of Maha Shakti, who protects and sustains the world.

According to the Kena Upanishad and the Katyayani Tantra, the Gods forgot the power of Goddess Durga once she killed the Mahisasura. She wanted to prove that her power is ‘supreme’ in the Universe. Being enraged she threw a grass leaf to them. The four gods- Agni (God of fire), Vayu (God of air), Varuna (God of rain), and Indra (God of thunder) failed to destroy it. Then the goddess appeared in her new form, riding a lion. The Gods realised their mistakes. They admitted her as the goddess of the earth, Jagatdhatri.

Another source mentions that during the war Mahisasura took the form of an elephant, goddess Durga appeared in the form of Jagatdhatri and killed him with the deadly weapon discus (Chakra). Here Mahisasura is known as Karindrasura (In Sanskrit elephant is known as Kari)

Jagatdhatri is described as three- eyed goddess with four arms holding bow, arrow, discus (Chakra) and conch (Sankha), a snake entangling her neck, riding a lion and an elephant lying beneath. Conch symbolises brilliance and purity, chakra represents destruction of the evil spirit, arrow and bow represent wisdom and concentration of mind respectively. Her complexion like the morning sun and weapons symbolise raja guna (quality of energy, movement, activity, ambition, action and change) that help in restoring wisdom in the world.

The worship of the Goddess was begun by Chandrachur Churamoni of Santipur. The idol worship took place for the first time in the village of Bramhasason, located in Santipur, Nadia. The public worship of goddess Jagaddhatri was introduced by Krishnachandra Ray, the raja of Krishnanagar of the Nadia District. It is said that the Raja was captured by Nawab Siraj for defaulting taxes. He was released on the last day of Durga Puja. In the evening, Devi Durga appeared before him as a child and asked him to organise the Puja or offering on the ninth day of the bright fortnight in the month of Kartik. Later, his family priest said that the child was none other Devi Jagatdhatri. He ordered an artist to create the idol and began to worship the goddess in the period mentioned.

The Mahavidya Temple located in Somra (in Hooghly district) is the oldest Jagatdhatri Temple. Apart from Chandannagar and Krishnanagar the worship of Jagatdhatri is also popular in Tehatta (in Nadia), Rishra and Boinchi (in Hooghly), and Kagram (in Murshidabad).

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