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The worship of Devi Durga in the month of Ashwin(SEPT-OCT) is called 'Akalbodhan'- an uncoventional time for inauguration of the worship. It is so called since the period of this worship differs from the conventional period (during the spring - 'Basanta').
According to Puranas (the epics) , King Suratha, used to worship the goddess Durga in spring. Thus Durga Puja was also known as Basanti Puja (Basanta being Spring). While the vernal worship of Durga still goes on but it is the Ram's Akalbodhan during the autumn that came to be a most widely accepted practice.
In the 'Ramayana', as it goes, Rama went to 'Lanka' to rescue his abducted wife, Sita, from the grip of Ravana, the king of the Demons in Lanka. Before starting for his battle with Ravana, Rama wanted the blessings of Devi Durga . He came to know that the Goddess would be pleased only if she is worshipped with one hundred 'NeelKamal' or blue lotuses. Rama, after travelling the whole world, could gather only ninety nine of them. He finally decided to offer one of his eyes, which resembled blue lotuses. Durga, being pleased with the devotion of Rama, appeared before him and blessed him. The epical battle started on the 'Saptami' and Ravana was finally killed on the 'Sandhikshan' i.e. the crossover period between Ashtami (the next day) and Navami (the day after). Ravana was cremated on Dashami. This is why Dashera is celebrated in India with so much of fanfare and the effigy of Raavana is burnt.

In course of time Bengalis adopted the autumnal worship of Durga performed by Rama and made it their main festival. The Pujas span over the four days, the time taken by Rama to finally kill and cremate Ravana.
I SHOOT IT AT VARANASHI(U.P. INDIA).F=2,S-SPEED=1/8

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Additional Photos by SUBIR BASAK (photographer123) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 222 W: 177 N: 1325] (6248)
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