Destinations Durga Puja 2023: Here's How Different Indian States Celebrate The Festival

Durga Puja 2023: Here's How Different Indian States Celebrate The Festival

Ahead of the festive season, devotees deck up the Durga Puja pandals and prepare to welcome the divine in all her glory.


By Priyanka Lamba and Yashita Vashishth Published on Sep 26, 2023, 02:00 PM

Durga Puja 2023: Here's How Different Indian States Celebrate The Festival
Image credits: Tanuj Adhikary/Unsplash

India’s rich cultural fabric needs no introduction. It’s the land of vibrant festivities and diversity. Everything — from food to language and festivals — varies from state to state. The beauty, however, lies in how different customs and rituals unite people across the nation. The collective devotion to gods and goddesses is a sentiment that echoes throughout the country. One such festival that has sparked celebratory preparations is Durga Puja. During this period, several cities are coloured in the spirit of the festival and festooned with Durga Puja pandals.

Durga Puja is a part of the 9-day-long Navratri — a celebration of the 9 forms of Goddess Durga. The festivals signify the triumph of good over evil and the removal of darkness. Albeit similar, Durga Puja is predominantly celebrated in the East, and Navratri is celebrated in other parts of the country. The ways in which devotees worship Goddess Durga also vary — some prefer to feast, others fast. 

History & significance

While Navratri revolves around worshipping various forms of Goddess Durga, it is a nine-day celebration of Lord Rama’s victory over Lankan demon king Ravana. Similarly, Durga Puja commemorates the victory of Goddess Durga over the demon Mahishasura. According to Hindu mythology, Mahishasura received a boon from Lord Brahma because of which no man or God could kill him, but a woman could. Exploiting this, the demon Mahishasura defeated the gods and drove them out of heaven. To put a stop to these atrocities, all the gods, including Lord Brahma, created Goddess Durga. The fierce battle between the divine Goddess and Mahishasura lasted for 10 days, and on the last day, the demon stood defeated. The 10th day is celebrated as Vijayadashmi or Dussehra. 

Durga Puja 2023 date 

This year, Navaratri begins on October 15 and ends on October 23. Meanwhile, the 4-day-long Durga Puja festivities commence on October 21. Marking the end of the festivities, Dussehra or Vijayadashami will fall on October 24.

Ahead of the festive season, the streets of various cities are decked to the nines to welcome the divine in all her glory. The celebratory canvas spans a colourful spectrum of festivities. Majestic stages, pandal decorations, larger-than-life cultural fests, dancing into the wee hours of the morning, and preparing indulgent meals for the devotees (bhog) are all a part of the exuberant festivities. In some states, the idol of Goddess Durga is immersed in water on the 10th day (visarjan), which signifies her return to the divine cosmos, back to her home with Lord Shiva in Kailash. On the other hand, in some states, people celebrate Dussehra by burning the effigies of demons, including Ravana, Kumbhkarana, and Meghanada.

Related Stories

Here’s how different Indian states celebrate Durga Puja and pay obeisance to the Goddess –

Durga Puja is one of the most-awaited events in West Bengal. Preparations to welcome Goddess Durga, who is often referred to as Maa, or mother, begin about a month before the scheduled date. While the streets of Kolkata are lit up with elaborate lighting during the night, magnificent pandals and ornate idols are set up at various places across the state. Flocking to Durga Puja pandals, dancing to the tunes of dhak (a percussion instrument), and feasting on scrumptious bhog is  part of the celebrations.

One of the most significant events marking the last day of the Durga Puja festival is Sindoor Khela where married Bengali women usually smear vermilion or sindoor on each other’s faces. This takes place after bidding adieu (darpan visarjan) to the Goddess. On this day, which is also known as Dashami, devotees immerse the idols in a water body to only wait for her return the following year.

(Image credit: Apurv013/CC0/Wikimedia Commons)

Image credit: Apurv013/CC0/Wikimedia Commons

When it comes to celebrating Durga Puja in Bihar, rituals are similar to those of UP — both states mark the last day of the puja by feeding young girls (kanya pujan). Altars are propped up for Goddess Durga, and the Durga Saptashati is recited to praise the goddess as the supreme power.

In both states, Navratri is marked by Ramlila. It is staged across the states in theatres as well as on temporary platforms, specially created for such acts.

(Image credit: ©Sangeet Natak Akademi, New Delhi/Intangible Cultural Heritage/UNESCO)

A scene from Ramlila (Image credit: ©Sangeet Natak Akademi, New Delhi/Intangible Cultural Heritage/UNESCO)

Ardent devotees of the Goddess fast for nine days to pay respect to the nine incarnations of Durga. Women who fast, worship an earthen pot or garbo, decorated with diyas or earthen lamps. The pot symbolises life within a womb and is considered a source of shakti (power).

From observing fasts to performing the famous Garba — a dance where men and women circle the idol or the garbo — the people of Gujarat surely know how to celebrate with gusto. They, too, conclude Durga Puja festivities by feeding young girls and giving either money or gifts to them.

(Image credit: anurag agnihotri/CC BY 2.0/Wikimedia Commons)

Image credit: anurag agnihotri/CC BY 2.0/Wikimedia Commons

People of Chhattisgarh, especially the tribals of Bastar, go all out when it comes to celebrating Navratri. The Bastar tribe holds a 75-day-long celebration, bringing the festivities to a close on the 13th day of the waxing moon or shukla paksha.

The tribe also follows a five-centuries-old festival called Bastar Dussehra where the idols of Devi Maoli and her sisters are carried in a procession from Bastar to the Danteshwari Temple in Jagdalpur.

(Image credit: aceofnet/Unsplash)

An idol of Goddess Durga being prepared for festivities. (Image credit: aceofnet/Unsplash)

Do you know what unites the Gujaratis and Maharashtrians? It’s their immense love for dandiya. The people of Maharashtra dress to the nines and love to dance throughout the night on energetic beats. The festivities end with Dussehra.

(Image credit: Sonika Agarwal/Unsplash)

Image credit: Sonika Agarwal/Unsplash

Did you know that Navratri celebrations in Himachal Pradesh commence when the rest of the country is winding up the festivities?

In the northern state, Navratri is celebrated with enthusiasm and hilarity at the Dhalpur Maidan in Kullu Valley. The devotion of the people is brought to life as they worship Lord Rama and other deities with indulgent decorations and pious ceremonies. 

Additionally, the state has its way of celebrating Dussehra: the Kullu Dussehra. It involves the burning of wood and grass on the banks of the Beas River. This symbolises the burning of Lanka or Lankadahan. On this day, the entire valley is adorned like a bride, and a huge procession is taken out, showcasing idols of deities to the Paddal ground.

(Image credit: Kullu Dussehra)

Image credit: Kullu Dussehra

Karnataka is known for its Navratri festivities, especially in the city of Mysuru, popularly known as Mysore.

The state festival of Karnataka, Mysuru Dasara, is celebrated with nothing but grandeur and follows the same rituals that were performed at the time of King Raja Wodeyar I in 1610. The royal sword is worshipped on Mahanavami (the ninth day of the festival) by placing it on a throne. Later, a procession of elephants, camels and horses is taken out carrying the sword.

The Mysuru Palace is a sight to behold at this time of the year. It is decorated with hundreds of lights and flowers on Dussehra. Celebrations on this day are also marked with a grand procession called Jambo Savari, which carries Goddess Chamundeshwari — an avatar of Durga. The procession takes place at the palace and fairs are held across the city.

(Image credit: Karnataka Tourism)

The Jambo Savari in progress (Image credit: Karnataka Tourism)

Navratri is a special occasion for the women of Andhra Pradesh, especially those who are unmarried. They worship Goddess Gauri to bless them with a suitable partner. The festival is known as Bathukamma Panduga (Mother Goddess, Come Alive!) in Telugu.

Women create flower stacks for the Goddess, only to immerse it in a water body on the final day of the festivities.

(Image credit: Randhirreddy at English Wikipedia/CC BY-SA 3.0/Wikimedia Commons)

Women gathered to celebrate Bathukamma Panduga (Image credit: Randhirreddy at English Wikipedia/Wikimedia Commons)

Durga Puja is celebrated with thrice the pomp and show in Tamil Nadu as three goddesses are worshipped on the last three days of the festival. The people of the southern state worship Durga, Saraswati and Lakshmi and exchange gifts, sweets and coconuts among members of their families.

The highlight of the festivities is the Golu or Kolu ritual. According to the practice, young girls and women place heirloom dolls and figurines, which have been passed down through generations, on a small wooden platform (stepwise arrangement). These dolls signify famous legends, gods and goddesses.

Ayudha Puja is also a part of the rituals. Performed on Mahanavami, Goddess Saraswati is worshipped on this day. Agricultural implements, books, musical instruments, machinery and automobiles are also revered along with the goddess.

(Image credit: Bootervijay at English Wikipedia/CC BY-SA 3.0/Wikimedia Commons)

The Golu ritual in Tamil Nadu (Image credit: Bootervijay at English Wikipedia/Wikimedia Commons)

In this southern state of India, nine forms of Goddess Durga are celebrated over the nine days of Navarathri, as pronounced in Kerala. However, the last three days of the Hindu festival are devoted to the goddess of learning and wisdom — Saraswati. The rituals practised on these days involve worshipping vocational tools. It is called Ayudha Pooja like that in Tamil Nadu. On this day, workers and students keep their tools and books, respectively, in the room of worship at temples or homes.

Another unique ritual practised on Vijayadashami is Vidyarambham, where a golden ring is used to write a mantra on the tongues of toddlers. The same mantra is then written on sand and rice spread on a plate as well, symbolising the introduction of knowledge to a child.

(Image credit: Prasanta Kr Dutta/Pexels)

Image credit: Prasanta Kr Dutta/Pexels


Hero and Featured Image Credit: Tanuj Adhikary/Unsplash

Related: These 19 Dishes Are A Must-Try When In Kolkata For Durga Puja To Enjoy All The Flavours This City Has To Offer


Where is Durga Puja most popularly celebrated?

While Durga Puja is predominantly celebrated in East India, several cities across the country celebrate the festival with pomp and show. Whether it is majestic pandals, preparing elaborate feasts, or dancing into the night, the entire country revels in the spirit of the festival. 

What is the significance of the idol immersion process?

The idol immersion symbolises Goddess Durga’s return to the divine cosmos i.e. her home with Lord Shiva in Kailash. 

Can non-Hindus participate in Durga Puja celebrations?

Yes, everyone can celebrate in Durga puja celebrations regardless of religion. 

What is the duration of Durga Puja celebrations?

The Durga Puja festivities span over for 4 days. This year, the festival will be celebrated from October 21 to October 24. 

What is the significance of Durga Puja in Hindu mythology?

The festival of Durga Puja celebrates the victory of Goddess Durga over demon Mahishasura; the triumph of good over evil. 

Written By

Priyanka Lamba and Yashita Vashishth

Priyanka Lamba and Yashita Vashishth

Never miss an update

Subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest on travel, stay & dining.

No Thanks
You’re all set

Thank you for your subscription.