Book review of Durga Puja – The greatest festival of Bengal in a photographic journey
Author: Shirsendu Sengupta
It could be done by only one – Parvati. The mother of Shiva’s children, the beloved mother of Kailash. The most beloved of Lord Shiva. The foremost knowledge holder of Tantra and Vedas.
The legend of Goddess Durga is an age-old tale. During the Navaratri festivities all of India decks up to praise the Goddess, but only a few understand its true significance.
Durga Puja – The greatest festival of Bengal in a photographic journey must have been a big task to prepare. The book is full of beautiful coloured illustrated photographs that show the grandeur of the Goddess. Durga puja is the main festival in Bengal. So this book covers the start of the festival there since the making of the idols and carries the reader beautifully till the end of it.
Maa Durga is a dynamic form which was taken by Parvati. The ultimate warrior, Maa Durga has ten hands in which she is holding various weapons. Interestingly, Parvati, the mortal form of the Goddess is usually shown as a very demure and homely lady.
Furthermore, what is great about this book is that it enlightens the reader on the spiritual aspect of the festival in plain and simple terms. You feel like you are reading a story while wafting effortlessly through complicated topics.
The significance of these contrasting forms is that Shakti exists very subtly all around us. One of the analogies could be with Mother Nature which one of the forms of the Goddess. Nature is the gentlest, quietest and most subtle. We tend to speculate this demureness with weakness whereas if we have the eyes to see, we can see the tremendous burst of energy that comes out of the volcanoes and we are also helpless against Her fury.
As we live in a world that has lost touch with the rich mythology of India, this book comes as a relief to the eye. It has enough to build the interest of the serious reader. On the other hand, its straightforward approach to mythology gives away the need for allegories and metaphors.
Recommended as highly readable for children and adults alike. Non resident Indians will especially get a wonderful taste of the culture back home. It would make an excellent gift to one’s children. The book looks wonderful with the eye catching and gorgeous images of Devi Durga and the festivities.
The book has dedicated sections on the days of the Durga Puja. Especially for some people, it is nostalgia at its best.
The book also has something to offer for the more spiritually inclined.
Devi Durga or Durga Mata is the representation of the sacred feminine. She is Adi Shakti, the feminine energy of this universe. She is the other half of Shiva. She is the Kundalini Shakti that resides within all of us.
In conclusion, this is not a one-time book. It is something you can browse year after year repeatedly. You can sink in the beauty of the 127 coloured pictures. You will always enjoy it because Durga Puja has truly something that is magically joyous. No wonder we wait for it every year!