Kumar Rajiv Nayan

Ara: Durga Puja celebrations at Ara centre round two old spots of the town in-the Aranya Devi at Devisthan and  Durga Bari at Babu Bazaar area.

Aranya Devi, known as one of the  siddhpeeth in the country, is located on the junction of old and new Ara town and quite ancient. It is said that Pandavas while wandering had offered prayer at the temple. It has two idols—the longer one is called Mahakali whereas the shorter one is called Mahasaraswati. Devotees throng the place in thousands during the Durga Puja. The importance of the temple can be gauged from the fact that people from different parts of the country visit the town the whole year particularly during Dussehara. Devotees are given ‘halua’ and `khir’ as prasad from saptami to navami.

Durga Bari Puja in the heart of the town is famous for traditional forms of community Puja and it is about 200th year of Durga Puja celebrations here. As per Soma Chatterjee, her great grandfather, Dr  Herambnath Mukherjee of Kharda in West Bengal migrated to Ara in 1808 and built this Durga Bari though she has no documented history but her great grandfather had said Durga Puja celebrations began when he came to Ara.  She said an idol of Ashtabhuji Devi made of pure gold and a ‘shivaling’ were kept in the 50 feet high temple.

She said Durga Puja is performed amidst playing of dhak, dhunuchi and dhuna dance. Durga Badi is opened for three days in a year for people. Soma Chatterjee said after the murder of her eldest sister Dr Chandra in 1993, police locked the whole Durga Bari and so Durga Puja could not be performed for 20 years.  Meanwhile, the idol of Goddess Durga was stolen. She said after getting possession in 2012, a new idol of Goddess Durga was installed in 2012. Some teaches in Rajasthan and comes to Ara durin Puja.


2 thoughts on “Devotees from different places throng Aranya Devi temple an Durga Bari at Ara”
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