Preparations for celebrating Durga Puja, the largest religious festival of the Hindu community, are going on in Bagerhat with the famous ‘Shikdar Bari Durgotsob’ in limited scale like the last two years following Covid pandemic.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the elaborate puja celebrations organised by the Shikdar family will be on a limited scale for the third consecutive year to protect the rituals, said Shishir Shikdar, member of the family's Shikdar Bari Durga Puja organising committee.
Like the visitors and Hindu devotees, the organisers are also upset because the grand celebration of Durga Puja is not being organised on a large scale. But provided that the pandemic tapers off, from next year Durga Puja will be organised on a large scale like before, Shishir added.
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The Tradition of Shikdar Bari’s Durga Puja
In 2011, Dr Dulal Krishna Shikdar introduced the grand celebration of Durga Puja with 251 idols at his ancestral home Hakimpur village of the Bagerhat Sadar upazila.
He wanted to raise society's awareness of the value of practicing sanatana dharma (traditional religion, or Hinduism) through the grand puja.
Since then, the number of idols of gods and goddesses has been increasing there every year.
In 2019, Durga Puja was organised with 801 idols of gods and goddesses on the Shikdar Bari Puja mandap.
The celebration became more vibrant and different every year to spread the festival among people of all religions.
Around autumn with the fragrance of Shiuli in the air, millions of visitors and devotees from all over the country, regardless of caste and religion, flock to the spectacular Shikdar Bari’s puja mandap.
The preparations for the celebration of Shikadar Bari Durga Puja ran almost throughout the year. The artisans started making idols six to seven months in advance with straw and clay. Idols were decorated with different colors and different types of ornaments, both local and foreign.
Three months before the puja, the workers would be busy with decoration and lighting work.
Various gods and goddesses of Satya, Treta, Dwapara and Kali Yuga were arranged in this puja mandap as companions of Mahamaya Goddess Durga.
Eminent industrialist Liton Shikdar, son of Dr Dulal Krishna Shikdar, was organising the festival with his own initiative.
Unfortunately, this traditional Durga Puja is being organised in that puja mandap to protect the religious rituals in a limited scale.