Nine days for nine forms of Durga
Durga Puja is an annually celebrated festival in Thimphu by Durga Puja Organization Committee since 1981. This year it started from 24th September and will be ongoing till 3rd October; and was inaugurated by Lyonpo D.N Dhungyel , Minister for Information and Communications.
Durga Puja is a festival that is celebrated every year by Hindus and it starts 9 days prior to Vijayadasami or Dasai, so among Hindus, Durga Puja is also known as “Nav-ratri”. For nine days and nine nights people gather and sing prayers to goddess Durga and her nine forms. This year Durga Puja Organization Committee has 9 Pundits from different regions of Bhutan of Drala , Sarpang and Tsirang to recite sacred Hindu scriptures like Srimat Bhagwat Maha Puran, Sri Durga Saptasati, Vedas and Rudras.
The group of pundits is led by Dr. Puspalal Nirola, member of the Hindu Dharma Samudaya of Bhutan. Dr. Puspalal Nirola said that Durga puja has been celebrated since the time of Lord Rama, then; the kings performed the Durga puja to ask for strength and victory during the wars. He also added that this year the Durga Puja is dedicated to fourth Druk Gyalpo and his 60th birth anniversary. Prayers will be conducted for His Majesty’s long life and also for the well being of the people of Bhutan.
Everyday 300 to 400 people come to offer their prayers to the goddess. The puja starts every morning from 7 am till 9 am and then in the evening from 5 pm till 7 pm. According to the Durga Puja Organization Committee’s Vice president, Mr. Shyam Basnet, Pandits recite sacred scriptures and pray to goddess Durga for nine days and nine nights for everlasting peace, prosperity and happiness of the people and that of all sentient beings. He also said, “Durga puja is not confined to Hindu people, others are more than welcome to join”.
The committee receives a yearly financial help of about Nu. 420, 000 from Department of Culture, Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs. They also received a plot of land to celebrate Durga Puja till now from MoHCA, which is, near Thai Temple and are expecting to shift soon to a well build Hindu Temple below Buddha Point, which is almost completed. Dr. Puspalal Nirola said, “We are expecting to celebrate Durga Puja in new temple next year”.
According to Durga Puja Organization Committee, “Durga puja for Hindus are not only a mere festival to be celebrated annually but holds a deeper meaning. It tells a story about victory of good over evil in Ramayana and protection of people from evil forces of selfishness, jealousy, hatred, anger and ego”. So, it is a best time of the year to get over with self centered thinking and to pray for our country’s better future, happy and healthy life of the people and for the sentient beings. It is the time to come together for each other.