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Importance of Durga Puja in Bengal – Why is Durga Pooja Special among Bengalis?

If it is Durga Puja; then it is in Bengal. Why is the tradition of Durga Puja so special among Bengalis? Perhaps the answer lies in the famous Kalighat Temple in Kolkata. The region is associated with Goddess Shakti from time immemorial. Various Tantric texts identify the region from Dakshineswar to Behala as Kalishetra or the abode of Goddess Shakti.

It is believed that all forms of Goddess Durga exist in this place. The worship of Goddess Durga gained prominence with the discovery of the feet of Goddess Sati from Kalikunda Pond in the vicinity. With this discovery, the place became one of the 51 Shakti shrines or Shakti Peethas. (After the death of Goddess Sati at the Daksha Yajna, Shiva was roaming around the world with it and this caused imbalance in the universe. Vishnu then used his Sudarshana Chakra to cut the body of Sati and it fell in 51 places on earth and these places came to be known as Shakti Peethas.)

Archeological discoveries, Tantric texts of Nigama School and Puranas like Bhavishya Purana talk about Shakti worship along the banks of Ganges in Bengal. Even Ptolemy also refers to a place called Kaligrama. She was the sole protector and guide for many who endeavored into the outside world for trade.

This strong Shakti tradition became even stronger in later years with people after they found solace and help from Mother Goddess in their endeavors. Soon she became the Mother who nourishes, comforts, chides and punishes. It is this mother who represents the primordial truth that is worshipped during Durga Puja.