Jagadhatri Puja – The legends of Goddess Jagadhatri
In West Bengal people celebrate Jagadhatri Puja on a grand level similar to Durga Puja and Kali Puja. It is said that Maa Jagadhatri is an incarnation of Maa Durga, and to celebrate this avatar, Jagadhatri Puja is commenced every year. Like other Pujas of Goddesses in West Bengal, this Puja too takes a festive mode, and fills up the entire place with colors, lights, happiness, and devotion.
Jagadhatri Puja happens in Kartik month, and the festive spirit of this event can be seen in everyone’s eyes. Jagadhatri means the holder of the world as the word Jagat means the World, and Dharti means Holder. Like in West Bengal the Puja is celebrated immensely in Odisha as well which is an Eastern Indian State.
In Odisha, Jagadhatri Mela also takes place at Bhanjpur Jagadhatri Podia. The carnival goes on for 8–15 days. It begins on Gosthastami, and the people there prefer it as another Durga Puja since it also starts on Asthami and ends on Dashami.
In West Bengal, the two cities Krishnanagar and Chandannagar are popular for celebrating this Puja. As compared to the previous times, both cities display much more lavishness during the Puja as they are significantly known for Jagadhatri Puja.
The Tale Behind Jagadhatri Puja
Raja Krishnachandra is known to bring Goddess Jagadhatri into knowing of people. According to the legend, once Raja Krishnachandra was caught by the ruling emperor of that time Siraj for defaulting taxes. Raja Krishnachandra was then imprisoned, and when after the release when he was returning by the boat from Murshidabad to Nadia, he heard the sound of drums.
It was the last day of Durga Puja, the tenth day. Being a true devotee of Maa Durga, he expressed grief for missing the festival. On the evening of that day, it is said that Maa Durga herself appeared in the dream of Raja Krishnachandra and told him to worship her on the ninth day of the bright fortnight in the month of Kartik.
Telling the family priest, he realized that the goddess Durga wants him to worship. Right away, Krishnachandra called an artist and told him to craft the idol of goddess Jagaddhatri. This way worship of Jagaddhatri began during the middle of the eighteenth century which later came in knowing of the public, and today the people there celebrate this Puja with all their hearts.
The Puja was later initiated on a major level by the wife of Sri Ramakrishna. The wife Sarada Devi brought the Ramakrishna Mission all over the world and broadcasted the Puja as Shakti Puja which overcomes the evil in people and fills the souls with positivity.
There is another legend behind Jagadhartri Devi. According to it, after killing the demon Mahishasura, all of them began to celebrate the victory and gave the credit to their names as with the power of Gods, Durga was created. Goddess Durga was ignored as a result and fumed with the ignorance, Devi Durga threw a grass leaf to Indra, Vayu, Agni, and Varun.
No one with their ultimate powers was able to destroy that leaf. Devi Durga then finally appeared in front of the gods in her new bright beautiful appearance. All the Devas admired her look and they realized that this Goddess is none other than Devi Jagadhatri, the Lord of the earth.
Devi Jagadhatri is also known to be one of the appearances of Durga. During the killing of Mahishasura, Devi Durga took many avatars. Once Mahishasura appeared as an elephant to confuse the goddess. Devi Jagadhatri then appeared with four hands along with a lion as her vehicle and killed the elephant with her Chakra. That is how Mahishasura is also known as Karindrasura because he appeared as an elephant which means “Kari” in Sanskrit.
Knowing the Avatar of Devi
The idol of Goddess Jagadhatri is made in a way that she is three-eyed and four-armed. A Conch or Seashell is in her left hand, and another left-hand holds Bow. In her two right hands, she holds a Chakra and a Five-headed arrow. The lion is her vehicle that is also a part of her idol. When worshipping Devi Jagadhatri, no goddess other than Jaya and Vijaya are worshipped, unlike Devi Durga where Laxmi, Saraswati, Kartik, and Ganesh are also present.
Everything that Devi holds in her hands works as a symbol. Such as the Conch shows brilliance and purity, Chakra is a destroyer of evil, the Bow represents mental stability whereas the Arrow is for wisdom. Hence the Goddess brings wisdom and the power to fight negativity in oneself. Goddess Jagadhatri also wears a Snake around her neck which represents fighting against all the odds in life.
Dress-wise Devi is beautifully adorned in red-colored clothes with ornaments which makes her idol look radiant. The priest also adorns her idol with a garland of flowers around her neck.
The celebration of Jagaddhatri Puja happens as per the Bengali calendar. In the month of Kartik or in November on the ninth day of the moonlit fortnight, the Puja takes place.
Devotees from all over India visit this place to seek the blessings of Devi. They worship the goddess with the same rituals as Durga Puja. Sacred texts are recited during the Puja, and later the picture of the goddess is immersed as in Goddess Durga Puja.
Puja is celebrated in a splendid manner in the month of Kartik or November and the date depends on the Bengali calendar. With the end of Jagadhatri Puja, it is considered to be the end of Hindu festivals for the year, and devotees start counting for the next festive season.
Like any other year, this year too Jagaddhatri Puja will take place as per the Bengali calendar. Devotees can visit Krishnanagar, Rishra, Chandannagar, Bhadreswar, Hooghly, or Boinchi town in West Bengal, and experience the festive spirit of this event. This year’s Puja dates would be from 21st November to 24th November from Saptami to Dashmi.