Unveiling the 339-Year-Old Tradition: Durga Puja at the Roychowdhury Residence in Howrah

In the heart of Howrah district, a remarkable Durga Puja tradition has thrived for 339 years at the Roychowdhury  family residence. Each year, this puja is celebrated with grandeur, adhering to rich rituals and traditions. However, behind this grand festivity lies a captivating tale that remains relatively unknown. Have you ever wondered about the intriguing story behind the Roychowdhury  family's Durga Puja? Let's delve into this historical and religious journey.

The Origins:
In 1685, the Roychowdhury  family of Shibpur initiated the Durga Puja tradition. It all began with Raja Rambrahma Roychowdhury, who laid the foundation for this auspicious celebration. The Puja commences in the Thakurdalan (prayer hall) of their palace, but there's a unique twist to this story. It is believed that all members of the Roychowdhury  family were ardent devotees of Goddess Chandi.

The Mysterious Beginning:
How did the worship of Goddess Durga start? Legend has it that near the Roychowdhury  palace, there was a pond named Bali Pokur. A young girl used to play near the pond every afternoon. After her playful moments, she would take a dip in the pond. What puzzled everyone was that no one from the family ever saw this mysterious girl. Who was she? Who took her to the pond every day? Where did she reside? To unravel these mysteries, the King decided to send his daughter's playmate, Padmavati, to accompany her one day.

A Curious Revelation:
The next day, when Padmavati asked the girl about the King's visit, she made it clear that she would not obey the King's orders. She refused to meet anyone. Padmavati further informed us that she wouldn't meet anyone unless she personally felt the need to do so. If she ever thought it was necessary to meet someone, she would go to them herself.

The King, irritated by Padmavati's response, confronted her father. In anger, he went to the pond to look for Padmavati but found only footprints on the pond's bank. There was no sign of her. Despite extensive searches, Padmavati could not be found.

A Divine Revelation:
That night, Padmavati appeared in the king's dream and revealed her true identity. She claimed to be Goddess Durga herself, who had been playing with him in the form of his daughter's friend. She instructed the King to establish her puja, following specific rituals and customs, at their residence. She explained that this puja would connect the Roychowdhury  family to the divine and ensure their prosperity.

Continuing the tradition:
Following the divine revelation, the King opened his eyes, and from that moment on, the annual Durga Puja at the Roychowdhury  residence became a sacred tradition. For 339 years, this puja has continued without interruption.

The Family Deity:
The presiding deity of the Roychowdhury  residence is Goddess Byataichandi. A special room with a bee tree is dedicated to her. During the Durga Puja days, the sacred bel tree is adorned with decorations, and rituals are performed here alongside the main puja.

In addition to the grand Durga Puja, the Roychowdhury  family observes Saptami, Ashtami, and Navami with devotion.

In Conclusion:
The Roychowdhury  family's Durga Puja in Shibpur has a rich history intertwined with a divine revelation. It is a celebration that has endured for centuries, connecting the family to the divine through their unwavering devotion to Goddess Durga. This unique tradition is a testament to the power of faith and the enduring spirit of religious customs in the region.

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