Siliguri, Dec 27 (Siliguri Journal) – This year marked the 43rd annual celebration of the Bana Durga Puja in the lush Baikunthapur forest of Rajganj. In this traditional event, the goddess Bana Durga is honored deep in the woods near Cheulibari. The festivities take place late at night on the full moon day of Paush, the tenth month of the Hindu calendar.
Reports indicate that due to the late-night timing and the dense forest location, devotees were initially not permitted. Nevertheless, a gathering of devotees started forming early in the morning, actively engaging in the traditional rituals. Moreover, food offerings were distributed among the participants.
The memorial site of Devi Chaudhurani and Bhavani Pathak, named Dillibhita Chadar Khal, holds significance as it is referenced in the novel ‘Devi Chaudhurani’ by the renowned Indian novelist, Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay. Initially, the local Rajbanshi community began worshiping at this location, known as the ‘Thunthuni Puja.’ About 43 years ago, a committee was formed, and since then, Bana Durga Puja has been organized regularly.
Puja Committee Secretary Raju Saha mentioned that the puja, accompanied by a fair, takes place every year at night. He highlighted that thousands of devotees gather from across North Bengal. He explained that due to the late-night organization, there’s a strict ban on devotee gatherings in the forest, leading pilgrims to start arriving in the morning.