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Published:October 11th, 2005 14:55 EST
Delaware Temple Bustles in Dussehera Festivity

Delaware Temple Bustles in Dussehera Festivity

By Noopur Shrivastav

The deserted Mahalaxmi temple of the first state Delaware is busy with activities owing to the Hindu festival Dussehera. As the Sun god seeks to hide behind the trees as night falls, the devotees throng the temple. The 9-day long gala festival of the Hindus started on 3rd of this month, and it will culminate tomorrow on October 12th. 

The evening programs are especially important to the devotees, by 7PM, the main Puja and Kumkum Archana begin. The pujaris (priests) of the temple provide Puja thaalis (plate with all the things needed for prayer) to the devotees, and politely instruct them in the way to perform the prayer. Each devotee is given a Thali with Kumkum (vermillion), mishri (kind of sugar candy used in Hindu Prayers), flower and goddess engraved coin in it. The priest enchants the name of the goddess and offers vermillion in the feet of the deity. The devotees also pick up the Kumkum and drizzle it on the engraved coin marked with the features of the goddess. 

During these nine days, the statue of the Goddess is adorned differently. The Goddess Durga has nine roops (form), and every day her attire represents one roop. The priest chants the 1008 names of the goddess, and offers Kumkum in the feet of the deity. Each name has a philosophy associated with it, and when you utter the name then the image of the god or goddess, as well as their related philosophy, comes to your mind. Goddess Durga is seen as an epitome of power, Goddess Saraswati represents knowledge, Goddess Lakshmi gives wealth and prosperity and it goes on. Every name has some significance, when we hear or speak those names a divine feeling beats in our heart and perhaps it is this divine feeling that pulls over 50 to 60 families every day to the temple. And we are expecting it even more tomorrow on Vijaydashami ", says the priest of the temple, Pramod Padhi. 

Ms. Tia Mukharjee who has been associated with the Delaware Hindu temple, shares the feelings she had while performing this prayer. Any offering you make to a deity is a way of offering yourself, the process of picking up the kumkum from the heap and then drizzling it on the coin or in the feet of the goddess takes us in a meditative state. We happen to get out of our conscious mind and feel the inner quietness, peace and divinity. "

Mr. Pramod Padhi has recently arrived from India, upon inquired how he feels to be in USA during Dussehera, he lucidly explains in Hindi, Humhaari sanskriti "Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam` me vishwaas karti hai, aur yahan aa kar mera vishwaash aur bhi gahra ho gaya hai. Hum vishwa ke kisi bhi kone me ho, ek kutumb bana lete hain. Yahan aa kar mujhe lagta hai jaise Bhartiya sanskriti vishwa ke har kone me pal rahi, phal phool rahi hai ". "The whole world is one family`, our civilization believes in this philosophy. After coming here, I know that we are capable of making a home in any part of the globe, and Indian culture will bloom and grow there.

The celebration of Dussehera is marked with dance and songs as well. Apart from the prayer and special garlanding, devotees perform special dance Garba and Dandiya and sing in the praise of God and goddess. On the last day of Navratri is Dussehera, on this day all forms of the Goddess Durga are worshipped, so that those who had missed the prayer during previous days could attend it and they could seek the grace of goddess.