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Dhaka Tribune

Honoring Divine Feminine: Shatakshi Goswami shines in Kumari Puja

  • A celebration of young girls and women
  • Symbolizes the embodiment of virgin goddess
Update : 22 Oct 2023, 08:19 PM

Kumari Puja, a cherished tradition during Durga Puja, takes place on the auspicious Ashtami day. This heartwarming event centres around the worship of young girls, typically aged between one and sixteen, and highlights the worship of the divine feminine.

In Dhaka, this year's Kumari Puja was celebrated with deep devotion on a Sunday.

As a yearly custom, the Ramakrishna Mission of Dhaka orchestrated the captivating Mahashtami Kumari Puja. 

The focal figure of this year's ceremony was the five-year-old Shatakshi Goswami, the daughter of Shyamal Goswami and Rita Goswami. 

Devotional songs were played before the goddess's arrival, invoking an environment of eager anticipation.

She was dressed in a sparkling sari, adorned with a flower garland, a crown, anklets on her feet, and a dot on her forehead.

Amidst a vast assembly of devotees, young Shatakshi sat serenely, embodying the essence of the virgin goddess.

Hindu community believe that during this ritual, Goddess Durga descends to earth in the form of a virgin to bestow blessings upon her devoted followers. It is this profound belief that drew thousands of devotees to the Ramakrishna Mission in the capital.

Aindrija, a second-grade student who attended Kumari Puja with her father, said: "Today is Mahashtami. I am here with my father to witness the puja. I haven't eaten anything since morning to offer Anjali (prayer)."

Another child named Deepika said: "Today is very special. I came with my family."

Hindu devotees offer their prayers at the Ramakrishna Mission in Dhaka on Sunday, October 22, 2023. Photo: Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

A woman named Shikha Saha explained: "This is the only place in the entire city where Kumari Puja is performed. That's why I brought my daughter here. Kumari Puja holds significant importance in honoring women."

Maharaj Swami Debdhanananda, a priest at the temple, said: "Kumari Puja emphasizes the essence of respecting women. It extends beyond the virgins; it symbolizes the reverence for women in our life and culture."

A woman, who wishes to remain unnamed, said: "My family and I have come a long way for this. Kumari Puja is exclusively held in Dhaka. Typically, a daughter of a Brahmin family, up to the age of sixteen, is worshipped as a virgin. We perform this puja to show our deep respect for women. Later in the evening, we will participate in Sandhi Puja."

A Hindu devotee is seen blowing the Shankha at the Ramakrishna Mission in Dhaka on Sunday, October 22, 2023. Photo: Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

A woman from Moulvibazar, when speaking to Dhaka Tribune, explained: "The puja in Dhaka has a grandeur of its own, so I come here. Now we will offer Anjali. Kumari Puja holds immense significance for us."

With only two more days remaining, the countdown to bid farewell to Goddess Durga has begun. It is a poignant moment when her departure from the mortal realm stirs emotions, leaving devotees eagerly anticipating her return in the following year.

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