This article first appeared in ThePrint on October 3, 2022
India is a land of festivals that celebrate and manifest its rich culture and diverse traditions. In the Hindu month of Ashwin, or September-October in the Gregorian calendar, we celebrate the Sharad Navratri, popularly known as Durga Puja in East India. The festival involves worshipping the feminine spirit, which manifests itself in many forms.
Durga Puja is the homecoming of goddess Durga from the sacred mount Kailash to her maternal home. It encompasses qualities such as strength, transformation, beauty, compassion, and power, reflected in each individual and even the universe.
Considering the many traditional values, workers, artists and sentiments involved, The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has finally included Kolkata’s famed Durga Puja in its Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list (ICH). While the government sent its proposal in 2019, it was only accepted in December 2021.