Durga Puja celebrated in Darwin Australia

By: Shashi Khanna.


Cultural Harmony at Harmony Hall , Darwin! 

October 13,2018 another cultural and religious initiative by the Indian community at Darwin. The occasion was the Durga Puja, first time celebrated at this magnanimous scale. The Puja & Durga society of Northern Territory was the organising body but a beautiful amalgam of all cultures and regions was witnessed at this beautifully managed event .
 Goddess Durga in her various incarnations of mother ,’Ma’ as affectionately called in Indian culture adorned a huge stage. The colourful , bright radiant stage with beautiful Rangoli ( the welcome symbols made as floor decorations with bright colours and flowers) welcomed all to a packed hall. Kum Kum and artistic paint work done on every lady who entered the hall clad in colours of red. Red colour in Indian attire being the dress code, one could see blooming ladies, chirpy girls swaying in bright Indian dresses. 

Darwin, NT, Australia 2018

Red being the Colour of holiness, vibrance,jubilation and prosperity in Indian mythology is worn usually by married women who are considered to be the symbol of all prosperity ( Goddess of Lakshmi). 
Durga Puja ,the 9 days of celebration of ‘Navratri ‘ is observed twice in a year .One in spring and this one in autumn, welcoming two seasons winters and summers. ‘Nau’ means nine in Hindi is celebrated for nine days .  The eighth day observed as ‘Ashtami’ when young girls are worshipped, celebrating the birth of a girl. To respect and regard the womenfolk of our families and society, giving them equality and honouring them for their mother hood.  Durga Puja celebrated in various parts of India has different rituals but eminently celebrated in Bengal, Gujarat and North India. 
Navratri also observed as fasting days for detoxification for our system, special kind of foods are eaten during these fasting days which ends on ‘Ashtami’ Pujan ,the eight day. Then ninth day as Ram navmi’ and tenth day as ‘ Dusshera’ when Lord Rama killed Ravana, as the mythological story says. 
Durga Puja is also celebrated as victory of good over evil. It’s not only the physical evil but the evils ,the devil inside us all, to win over the personality flaws of greed, lust,anger, ego and disillusion. To monitor and control ourselves for our righteousness and for a healthy society filled with respect, love, compassion and harmony amongst all. 
The event at Harmony Hall had divine aura of Ma blessing all devotees from various cultures and backgrounds. It seemed like Mini India gathered here. Women from Haryana, Uttrakhand in the north to Chennai and Bangalore in the south, from Rajasthan in the west to Bengal and Assam in the east. Our neighbours from Bangladesh, beautifully dressed participated with zeal and enthusiasm. The luscious Bengla sweets further honeyed the atmosphere when Prasad was distributed with variety of Bengal sweets, all home made ( important to mention). 
Puja and Archana was recited by the priest with flowers offered to the Goddess Durga and surrender to Almighty. 108 lamps lighted at the feet of Ma Durga with fruits , flowers and sweets for bhog. Durga Stuti and Saraswati Vandana was melodiously sung by an aged woman which was appreciated by all. Beautiful flower wall had many selfie clicks and added a beautiful background. 
Beats of the Dhol and drums swayed all to dance in devotion. The sound of rhythmic clapping captured the atmosphere, seemed like to outreach to Goddess residing in every soul promising to celebrate the journey of life and human birth. 
A sumptuous meal followed which was relished by all concluding with yummy Bengali sweets special ‘ Rasgulla ,Sandesh and Khir. 
A lively cultural program followed which was meticulously crafted for the occasion. Every day Navratri Puja is being held at the Hindu temple in Malak area of Darwin, Northern Territory for these 9 days.
This whole  day of Durga Puja celebration overtook my soul and how much I thanked ‘Ma’ , my family and myself for being able to witness this grandeur celebration in this far far land of Australia. I couldn’t believe, to see the spirit of participation, hard efforts and planning to solemnize the worship of Ma Durga who is beyond any caste , religion,culture and boundaries of land or ocean. To conclude , I must acknowledge ,how proud and overwhelmed I was of my rich Indian cultural roots which has deep significance to the core of human existence and blending values in its uniqueness. 
Thankyou so much Hindu council for allowing me to put my intense emotions into words. I’m grateful to the Puja & Cultural society of NT for this memorable day which I’ll carry across the world through social media platforms. 

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