Durgotsav or Durga Utsav refers as the “Festival of Goddess Durga” in the month ofAshwin (i.e inOctober). It is also known as Sharodotsav is an annual Hindu festival in South Asia that celebrates worship of Hindu Goddess Durga.
Durga Puja festival marks the victory of Goddess Durga over the evil buffalo demon Mahishasura. Thus, Durga Puja festival epitomizes the victory of Good over evil.
Mahishasura Mardini is the incarnation of Goddess Durga who had taken birth to kill the ashura king Mahishasura.Mahishasura was the king who ruled the kingdom of Mahisha or Mahisaka.
According to Hindu Puranas, Mahisha was the son of an asura King Rambha who had fallen in love with a beautiful female buffalo named Shymala.Shymala was a princess who became a water buffalo due to the curse.Rambha due to his magical powers took the form of a male buffalo and by their union Mahisha was born with the head of a buffalo and human body. In Sanskrit language, Mahisha means buffalo.
Durga Puja festival refers to all the six days observed as Mahalaya, Shasthi, MahaSaptami,MahaAshtami, MahaNabami and VijayaDashami.
Durga puja celebrations are set according to the traditional Hindu Calender and the fortnight corresponding to the festival is called Devi Paksha, “Fortnight of the Goddess”.Devi Paksha is preceded by Mahalaya, the last day of the previous fortnight PitriPaksha,”Fortnight of the Forefathers” and is ended on Kojagori Lakshmi Puja “Worship of Goddess Lakshmi on Kojagori Full moon night.
On the day of Mahalaya, it sets as a traditional custom to pay homage or offering holy water to our forefathers in the river Ganges, specifically refers as Tarpan.
It became a ritual in every household to tune into the Mahishasurmardini- a two-hour radio programme presented to listen to the enchanting voice of the late Birendra Krishna Bhadra and the late Pankaj kumar Mallick in All India Radio at 4 a.m. in the morning. Bengalis feels the moods of Durga Puja by listening Mahishasrmardini on Mahalaya.
Kaashphool (Kans grass), Shiuliflowers (Night-flowering Jasmine), dhaak sound symbolizes the beginning of a Durgotsav and the festivity begins with the new clothes, pandals, food etc.
Mahishasura ruined the life of humans and conquered Earth (Prithvi Lokam) as well as Deva Loka (Swarga Lokam) by attacking Lord Indra, the king of Devas. All Gods and Goddess approached Lord Vishnu for a solution. Thus the powers of Trimurtis- the Trinity of Lord Brahma, Vishnu & Mahesh-joined together for the creation of Goddess Durga (Mahamaya).
Goddess Durga was incarnated with ten arms, each having different warriors with Lion as her vehicle and possesses the power to destroy the demon rakshas Mahisha. Durga Maa went to fight with Mahisha and at the end of the fierce fight she got victory over Mahishasura. Thus, Durga got the name Mahishasuramardini (The one who killed demon Mahisha). As Goddess save the world from the demon, Durga came to be known as the Mother of the Universe who embodies the primeval source of all power.