Golden Bengal – Berhampore
Berhampore City Guide is incomplete without a mention of its rich cultural heritage. Some of the popular historic places of interest in close proximity to Berhampore include Old Cossimbazar Palace, Kathgola palace, Char bangla Temple and Katra Masjid etc. Many buildings of the late 1600s can still be seen in Berhampore. A distinguished type of metal known as “Khagrai Kansha”, used in making bells comes from this city. Berhampore is also recognized for special type of sweets, “Chenabora”, “Manohara”, and “Khaja”.
The place was also known as “Golden Bengal” by the Britishers. The stylish arts of the region are very popular among the tourists. Berhampore is also very popular for the handmade carpets, baskets and the miniature painting made up of jute takes one by surprise and makes one wonder that can jute be utilized so beautifully. The major industries situated here include ivory carving, rice and oil-seed milling silk weaving and precious metal working.
Here are some of the festivals celebrate with gaiety in my hometown Berhampore,West Bengal with details about each..!!!….
1. Durga Puja (At my home) :
Durga Puja is being celebrated in our house for the last 149 years. This year we would be steeping to our 150th Puja. Unlike every household where Puja takes place,we celebrate the four days of the Puja very enthusiastically. The pre-puja preparations start a month ago. Since I belong to a Joint family,all relatives even those who stay abroad come together to celebrate this occasion. From the kola-bou snan to the Sindur khela,we participate in each and every little custom. The main attraction about this festival in our household is the invitation of all the residents of our village in the Maha Ashtami day for having the Mahabhog. People from other towns also visit our place to have a full phased enjoyment during pujas.
After the Durga Puja,we celebrate Chaturdashi Kali Puja also.
2. Bhairab Puja
In 2014, Bhairav Ashtami will be celebrated on 14th November. Bhairav ashtami is also known as Kalashtami and therefore, considered to be an auspicious day for occult activities. It is believed that Bhairav is another form of Lord Shiva and worshipping him protects the devotee from all kind of evils and sufferings. It is one of the most difficult sadhana observed. As per the ancient scriptures, Lord Shiva appeared in the form of Bhairav on an auspicious day of Margashirsha Krishna Paksha.
By worshipping Lord Shiva in the form of Bhairavnath, one can get relief from all the sins and sufferings in his life. It is also believed that all the wishes of the devotee gets fulfilled by worshipping Bhairavnath if done with full faith and dedication. It is considered fruitful to observe fasts and worship Lord Bhairav with proper rituals on the day of Bhairava ashtami
According to the Shastras, worshipping Kalbhairav on this day gives desired results. Lord Bhairav nath has the knowledge of tantra-mantra and is himself a Rudra. Shiva Purana has mentioned Bhairav as another form of Lord Shiva. He is the one who created and nurtures the universe. The one who comes under his shelter gets relief from all the sufferings in life. Bhairavnath always protects his devotees.
Rituals To Worship Bhairav Ashtami
People should worship Lord Bhairav nath with proper rituals and full faith. Jaagran should be performed at night to worship Lord Bhairav nath. Katha and kirtans should also be performed. It is utmost important to recite Bhairav katha while performing the puja. At the middle of the night, the devotee should perform Bhairav aarti with conch, drum, gong etc. Lord Bhairav nath rides a black dog. So one should offer food to a dog to please Lord Bhairav nath. The one who performs the puja and observes a fast gets relief from all the sufferings and fears related to ghosts, evil spirits also go away.
Worshipping Lord Bhairav eliminates the negative effects of planets. The devotee is blessed with all the three kinds of tantra sadhana. Lord Bhairav destroys the occult activities such as stambhan, vashikaran, uchchatan and smohan. The person gets successful in every work performed with dedication and is protected by every kind of disease.
Significance of Bhairav Sadhana
Worshipping Lord Bhairav provides strength and protect the devotee from all kind of fears and enemies. Lord Bhairav has a special significance in hindu devas. He is considered to be the protector of the directions. It is believed that Lord Bhairav is another manifestation of Lord Shiva. He is also known as Rudra, Krodha, Unmatt, Kapali, Bheesham and Samharak.
Worshipping Bhairav provide freedom from evils, salvation, court-cases and so on. Worshipping him on Tuesdays and Sundays gives auspicious results. The person should get free form his routine work and perform the puja with pure heart. Worshipping Lord Bhairav brings peace and harmony in the family, maintains health of the family members and protects them from getting affected by various diseases
Lord Bhairav is the devotee of Lord Shiva and goddess Durga. He is of a calm, courageous and pure nature. The devotee gets freedom of bad dreams, sufferings, fear of theft and enemies. He is also protected from the the effect of bad spirits and occult practices. Bhairava temple is Kashi has special significance in ancient scriptures. It is believed that Lord Shiva himself established Bhairav temples beside every Shakti peeth.
I snapped it at Lalbagh Hazarduari palace which is near Berhampore. Muharram is the first month of the Islamic calendar. Since Murshidabad district is surrounded by Muslims,so Muharram is celebrated with lots of hustle and bustle here.It is one of the four sacred months of the year in which fighting is prohibited. Since the Islamic calendar is lunar, Muharram moves from year to year when compared with the Gregorian calendar.
Muharram is so called because it is unlawful to fight during this month; the word is derived from the word haram, meaning “forbidden”. It is held to be the most sacred of all the months, excluding Ramadan. Some Muslims fast during these days. The tenth day of Muharram is called Yaumu-l ‘Ashurah, which is known by Shia Muslims as ‘the day of grief’.
Some Sunni Muslims fast during this day, because Prophet Musa (Moses) and his people obtained a victory over the Egyptian Pharoah on this 10th day of moharram; according to them Prophet Muhammad asked Muslims to fast on this day, and also a day extra either before or after, so that they are not similar to Jews (since Jews used to fast for one day due to the same reason).
Fasting differs among the Muslim groupings; mainstream Shia Muslims stop eating and drinking during sunlight hours and do not eat until late afternoon. Sunni Muslims also fast during Muharram for the first 10 days of Muharram, just the tenth day or on both the ninth and tenth days; the exact term depending on the individual. Shia Muslims do so to replicate the sufferings of Husayn ibn Ali on the day of Ashurah. Shia Muslims, go further in their attempts of replication, including self-flagellation.
4. Maa Sarada Janma Tithi
Birthday of Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi being celebrated in Sargachi Ramakrishna Mission,the oldest social service extension centre of Ramakrishna Mission in the world.
Ramakrishna Mission Ashrama, Sargachi, the first branch center of Ramakrishna Mission with its present Headquarters at Belur Math was founded by Swami Akhandanandaji Maharaj, a direct disciple of Sri Ramakrishna in 1897.
5. Charak Puja
The festival is devoted to the deities Shiva and Sakti. harak Puja is one way to reach salvation, so is believed by these men and women. On the day of the ‘Charak’ or the ‘Gajan’, as it is also called, bamboo stages are made on bamboo poles, the height ranging from 10 to 15 feet. Devotees can be seen overhanging from a hook fixed to the top of the poles. It is celebrated with lots of hustle bustle in Barrack Square of Berhampore town,where hundreds of people accumulate to watch this festival.