Jagaddhatri Puja is one of the most important pujas celebrated in West Bengal. Jagaddhatri literally means the one who holds and protects the world.
Thus Jagaddhatri is the protector of the world and is an incarnation of Ma Durga. Jagaddhatri‘s cult is directly derived from Tantra. She is also known as Trisandhya Vyapini as it is believed that she is present at all three times of the day.
She too is alike Ma Durga four-handed and holds various weapons in her hand. Jagaddhatri is worshipped on the in the shukla navami of the month of Ashwin according to the traditional Bengali month, and as per Gregorian calendar, this is observed in the month of November in the waxing phase of the moon. In 2016 Jagaddhatri Puja will be celebrated on the 5th of November, Tuesday.
- Appearance of Jagaddhatri
Jagaddhatri is the pleasant form of Ma Durga. Her complexion is of the color of the morning sun. She has 3 eyes and 4 hands. In thos e4 arms, Jagaddhatri holds conch, chakra, bow and arrows. She drapes a red saree and is decked up in bright jewelries. The unique thing that she adorns is the nagajangopaveeta, which is actually a serpent worn as a sacred thread. This is actually a symbol of both Yoga and Brahman. Ma Jagaddhatri rides on a lion and stands on the dead elephant demon called Karindrasura.
- Legend of Jagaddhatri Puja
According to legends found from the Hindu scriptures,after the Mahisashura was vanquished by Devi Durga, all the Gods had become extremely complacent. They even became egoistic and thought that the Ashura was defeated because they had all lent their weapons. Shiva thought it was important that they all realized that it was all because of the primordial power present in the universe that the Ashura was vanquished and not because of the weapons.
Shiva thus took the form of a Yaksha and appeared in front of the Gods. All the Gods appeared in front of him and the Yaksha asked them that what they did. First to approach the Yaksha was Vayu. Shiva asked him what he could do, and Vayu replied that he was capable of tumbling mountains and uprooting trees. The Yaksha placed a small grass in front of Vayu and asked him to move it. As much power as he could, Vayu put into it, yet he couldn’t move the grass even an inch. After Vayu came Agni, the fire God and faced the same consequences. One by one all the Gods failed. It was then that they all realized that the powers that they all boasted of was not really their own but of the supreme mother who held and protected the nature as her own. She was Jagaddhatri. Thus it is believed that the devotees of Jagaddhatri are completely egoless.
- History of Jagaddhatri Puja
It is historically recorded that Jagaddhatri Puja was first started by Maharaja Krishnachandra of Krishnanagar. According to some sources Jagaddhatri Puja was initiated by Sarada Ma, wife of Ramakrishna Paramhansa Dev. The Jagaddhatri Puja of the Bose family of Palpara, is stated to have started from 1640, according to family records.
- Celebration of Jagaddhatri Puja
It is believed that Indranarayan Choudhury in 1750 introduced Jagaddhatri puja in Chandan Nagar. It is the biggest festival in this part of the state of west Bengal. The main attraction of the Jagaddhatri idol of Chandan Nagar is her traditional and ornamental decoration made out of shoal or thermocol. It is believed that Jagaddhatri puja was asked to be observed at this period by Acharyachuramani in the 15th 16th century. The places are decorated by beautiful and ornately decorated glittering lights and the pandals are all textural wonders.
In Odisha, after the Ratha Yatra, the Jagaddhatri Puja mela at Bhanjpur, Baripada, Odisha, is the biggest. It is celebrated at Goshtashtami and is called another Durga Puja.