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Leaving behind tales untold and moving ahead with grace and talent, a woman is truly an embodiment of beauty, charm and intellect. She is the protector, comforter and destroyer of all evils. Through the ages, woman has not only proved to be compassionate but also brave in times of adversity. She is worshiped as the Mother Goddess and is welcomed in different forms in different parts of the world.

The festive season is here and in India this is the month where we place our faith and belief on the mother Goddess. The festival is celebrated at the same time in different ways in different parts of the country. Every year during the lunar month of Ashwin or Kartik (September-October), Hindus observe ten days of ceremonies, rituals, fasts and feasts in honor of the supreme mother goddess. It begins with the fast of 'Navaratri' and ends with the festivities of 'Dasshera' and 'Vijayadashami'.

Durga Pooja. 
Durga is the most beautiful manifestation of Devi. She gained her power from different Gods and she had invincible powers to destroy the evil. She was created to kill the buffalo-demon Mahisa. Unable to kill the demon the Gods thought of creating a very powerful goddess who would be able to kill Mahisa and when all the powers of the Gods were brought together, there emerged Goddess Durga, the one who was beautiful, serene and strong.

Mahisa heard about Durga who was beautiful and resided on the top of the mountain. Mahisa wanted to make her his queen but the Devi rejected his proposal. He was so furious that he sent his army to bind her in chains and bring her before him but the whole army was killed. Mahisa went and asked her why she was not willing to marry the great demon king. To this, Durga replied that she would marry only that person who defeats her in a battle. Hearing this Mahisa was ready for a fight and then there was a fierce battle. At last Durga killed the demon and peace reigned once again.

In eastern India, especially in Bengal, the Durga Pooja is the principal festival during Navaratri. It is celebrated with vivacity and devotion through public ceremonies of 'Sarbojanin Pooja' or community worship. Huge decorative temporary structures called 'pandals' are constructed to house these grand prayer services, followed by mass feeding, and cultural functions.

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