Jagadhatri Puja: its history and the timings

Who is Ma Jagadhatri?

Jagadhatri or Jagaddhatri (which translates to “bearer of the world”) is an aspect of the Hindu Goddess Parvati. This goddess is particularly worshipped in the Indian states of West Bengal and Odisha. Her worship and rituals are directly derived from Tantra where she is a symbol of sattva beside Durga and Kali. They are respectively symbolized with Rajas and Tamas.

According to the Puran, Jagadhatri is an incarnation of Siddhidhatri. She is also said to be the combined form of Sri Tripura Sundari and Maa Durga. In Bengal, people celebrate her puja as the comeback of the devil, especially in Chandannagar and Krishnanagar.

What is the story behind her formation?

Her story is mainly found in Kena Upanishad and Katyayani Tantra. Generally, after Devi Durga killed the demon Mahisashura, the gods of Svarga forget about her powers. So, the Adi shakti, maa Parvati took their test. Here, Devi appeared before Agni, Vayu, Varuna, and Chandra. They thought of themselves as almighty and they can do anything with their power.

Like we see in Kena Upanishad, here also the Devi told them to take out a grass but Vayu failed. Then Agni failed to burn it. Every god one by one tried but failed. In the end, they understood that every bit of power in the universe belongs to Devi alone and their power also belongs to her. She is the power of the whole world. So, all the Gods understood their fault. The goddess came before them as Goddess Uma sitting on a lion. And their ego became an Elephant. That’s how we see Goddess Jagaddhatri sitting on a lion and an elephant under her.

This story has been taken where we find mention of Devi. There she has been called Jagadhatri for the first time. She is told to be the manifestation of Saguna Brahma and the symbol of Sattwa Guna. Even though the world is witnessing destruction & creation every moment but it never gets destroyed totally. The reason is the Maha Shakti who protects and sustains it. She’s eternal and unaffected by the waves of time. Devi Jagadhatri is the manifestation of that Maha Shakti.

You must believe in the Ishwara rupa. Do you know the meaning of Jagadhatri rupa? She is carrying the world. If she stops, then the world will get destroyed” is said by Sri Ramakrishna.

Her dhayana mantra describes her weapons, vahana, and her iconography. She is sitting on top of a lion, wearing different jewelry. In her four hands, the Devi holds bow, arrow, chakra & sankha. She is reddish like the morning sun and she is wearing snake garland. Her reddish color and weapons are the symbols of raja guna. However, this is not for destruction and going to war. Rather this is to keep the world focused on Ritam & Satyam.

She sustains the universe through her Yoga shakti. Naga/Sarpa is the symbol of Yoga & Upavitam is the symbol of Brahmin. Devi is a yogini. She is running the world by her maha yoga shakti. The act of rescuing the world is her “Lila”.

In her stotram, she has been invoked as Adhara bhutah, Dhritirupah, Dhurandharah, Dhruvapadah, Shaktistah, Shaktirupah, Shaktacharpriyah and Shaktivigrahe.

What is Jagadhatri Puja?

The Jagadhatri Puja was first started by Raja Krishnachandra of Krishnanagar, Nadia in Bengal. In Krishnanagar, Raj Rajeshwary Jagatdhatri Puja is one of the oldest Jagatdhatri Puja in Bengal. Legend has it that once during the Nawab raj in Bengal, Maharaja Krishnachandra was arrested by Nawab Siraj-ud-Dullah for not paying tax in time. He was released from prison during the day of Vijaya Dashami. 

Due to this, the entire festivity of Durga Puja in his kingdom was spoiled. So, to again rejoice in the festival, the Maharaja started the ritual of this Jagatdhatri Puja. Primarily, this puja was done by one Raj Rajeshwary (Raj Mata in the Bengali language). Along with it, before the start, a Jagadhatri Puja was donated by Maharaja Krishna Chandra called Maa Jaleshwary at Malopara Barowary.

But, the Jaleshwara temple of Shantipur(1665) & Raghaveshwara temple(1669) has Jagadhatri vigraha inside & temple walls have them too. So, she may be known in Nadia long before Krishna Chandra.

The Jagadhatri puja of Bose family, Palpara, deserves a special mention in this regard. The puja of this family initially used to be held in their ancestral home in Murshidabad. Folklore has it that this puja was started in 1788. The puja was later shifted to its present location in Chandannagar, where many of the family members now live. The exact history of the deity is unknown. But family records date back to 1640.

Researcher Mohit Roy has noted that Jagadhatri vigraha from Barisal (BD) is from the 8th Century. Currently, the vigraha is in the Ashutosh Museum (Kolkata). One must note that such Singha-Vahini vigrahas have been discovered in plenty, particularly from western Bengal.

However, the first mention of Jagadhatri puja comes from “Kalviveka” of Smarta Shulapani(1375-1460). Later on, Smarta’s like Brihaspati Raymukut & Srinatha Acharya Churamani too have mentioned Devi in their work.

When is this goddess worshipped in both Krishnanagar and Chandannagar?

The date on which she is worshipped, Navami of Shukla Paksha, is very auspicious. In ancient times, it was known as Chandika Puja. According to Smritisagara and Mahamohopadhhaya Panchanan Tarkaratna, it is the day to worship Uma.

The ruling to perform this special puja of the goddess is on the ninth lunar day of the light fortnight in the month of Kartick. This has been referred to in “Krityatattarnab” by Srinath Acharyachuramoni of the 15th and 16th centuries.

How old is this puja?

The oldest temple of Jagadhatri is in Somra (Hooghly). It’s known as the Mahavidya temple. It was established in 1621 CE. The oldest Jagadhatri puja that is known is 450+ years old. It takes place in the Dekhuria village, Birbhum. Jagadhatri puja of Baligram village (Jiaganj, Murshidabad) is older than Dekhuria village. It’s more than five hundred years old. Bandyopadhyay family of Mirhat of Kalna are observing Jagadhatri puja for more than four hundred years. Jagadhatri puja is the main Puja of Dhatrigram, Baidyapur & Mirhat of Kalna. 350-year-old Chandrapati family’s kuladevi is Jagadhatri, to say the least.

Which is the book Jagatdhatri features in?

Jagadhatri features in the semi-historical fictional work ‘Anandamath’ written by Bankim Chandra Chatterjee. It is from this book that the national song of India “Vande Mataram” is taken. In the novel, Kali, Durga, and Jagatdhatri are depicted as three aspects of ‘Bharat Mata’ (Mother India). Jagadhatri is portrayed as the mother used to be, Kali as the mother now is, Durga as the mother will be in the future. The trio of goddesses is shown as the object of worship of a group of ascetics. They form the protagonists of the story.

How does Ma Jagadhatri look?

The four-handed goddess is carried everywhere by a lion. There is an elephant at the feet of the lion. The idol has an old-fashioned shaping. The face cutting is of a longish pattern. It has large eyes spread up to the ears. The four hands display discus, conch, bow, and shaft. The snake is her sacred thread.

One main attraction of this idol of Chandannagar is the ornamental decoration of the goddess made of sola. There are also beautiful canvases of mats with paintings at the back of the image.

What is the history of Jagadhatri puja in Chandannagar?

When the entire Bengal, nay India, was under British rule. In spite of being under the French administration at that time, Chandannagar created a distinct tradition. Jadadhatri Puja is a major socio-cultural event in this region. The ancient history of Jagadhatri puja in Chandannagar is unknown even today. It is heard that Indranarayan Chowdhury introduced the puja in Chandannagar. He did this in the manner of King Krishnachandra of Krishnanagore.

This puja started in Krishnanagore in the year 1762. Indranarayan Chowdhury died in 1756. So, by no means, he had introduced this puja in Chandanangar. The history of Jagatdhatri Puja probably dates back to times earlier than 1750. Indranarayan Chowdhury performed this puja in his house. At that time, King Krishnachandra used to come there to borrow money from him. Perhaps the king was attracted to the greatness of the Goddess Jagadhatri at that time.

History of jagadhatri puja in Krishnanagar

Unknown to many, Jagadhatri Pujo was introduced in 182 in Krishnanagar of Nadia district. Although there are still differences of opinion about the exact year. It is said that during the reign of Maharaja Krishnachandra Roy of Nadia, Nawab Alivardi Khan demanded 12 lakh rupees from him. King Krishnachandra refused to give it and he was taken prisoner in Murshidabad. When the king was returning to Krishnanagar after his captivity, he heard the sound of Durga puja’s devotion.

He suffered a lot as he could not be present at Durgapujo. That night, Mother Jagadhatri, seeing the Maharaja in a dream, instructed him to worship. From then on, the worship of Mother Jagadhatri as an alternative to Mother Durga started in Bengal. Later, inspired by the puja of King Krishnachandra, Indranarayan Chowdhury, the dewan of France, started the puja of Jagadhatri in the then Farasdanga, now Chandannagar.

At that time, Ranima of Krishnanagar used to visit Jagadhatri’s mother while sitting in the palace. So, from that time onwards, the idol of Jagadhatri had to be turned around in front of the palace before the goddess was abandoned. On the morning of Jagadhatri Pujo, it is customary to bring the goddess’s jug in the water of Jalangi in a palanquin. However, although the communication was improved, mother Jagadhatri still left for the palace with the help of the ancient rules.

The idol is taken around the Krishnanagar palace and taken to the river Jalangi. There, mother Jagadhatri is surrounded and thrown into the river. Pujo is also celebrated in the palace. According to the rules, the idol of the palace is abandoned first. Jagadhatri Pujo is one of the three days of the year when the doors of Krishnanagar Rajbari are opened mainly for visitors or travelers.  

The Jagadhatri puja of Krishnanagar is a thing to see. During this time the city adorns itself with lots of lights, flowers, pandals, and the likes. Each year more than 5 lakh devotees come to this place to be a part of this grandiose festival. There are about 150-175 clubs and barowaris which organize Jagadhatri puja in the city.

The Jagadhatri puja of Krishnagar is a perfect blending of devotion, emotion, and celebration. The most popular Jagadhatri goddess is the Burima of Chasa Para (In Bengali, “Chasa” means farmer). This deity is called the Tirupathi of Krishnanagar. Each year the idol is embellished with 150 kg gold and 150 kg silver ornaments with more than 10 benarasis and jamdanis. Besides Burima, Choto Ma (the deity of Kathalpota Barowari), Mejoma (the deity of College Street Barowari), Jaleswari (the idol of Malo para Barowari) are also very famous.

How many Jagatdhatri Pujas are performed in and around Chandannagar?

The number of community pujas in Chandannagar, Bhadreshwar, and Champdani Municipal areas cross the 190 mark every year. Of these, 132 puja committees in different localities in Chandannagar and Bhadreshwar are affiliated to the Chandannagar Central Jagatdhatri Puja Committee.

Jagatdhatri Puja 2021 dates

The dates of Jagadhatri Puja 2021 are as follows:

  • Saptami- Shukla Paksha: November 11, 2021, Saturday
  • Ashtami- Shukla Paksha: November 12, 2021, Sunday
  • Navami- Sukla Paksha: November 12, 2021, Monday
  • Dashami- Sukla Paksha:November 13, 2021, Tuesday

Ashtami Puja:

After one month of Durga Ashtami, the Ashtami puja rituals of Jagadhatri puja are held on Shukla Paksha. In 2021 This year, the puja will be held on Sunday, November 12 (Bengali month 6th Agrahayana).

Navami Puja:

Jagadhatri puja is performed in two separate ways. The first is that- from The Saptami to Navami, Ma Jagadhatri is worshipped in the same rituals of Durga Puja.

Common ritual is that- Saptami, Astami, and Nabami pujas are performed by three separate pujas on the Navami of Jagadhatri Puja. For this reason, the Navami of Jagadhatri puja is given more importance. The Navami Puja of 2021 will be held on Monday, November 12.

In 2022, this puja will be held in the month of November. It will start on the 1st of November and will end on the 2nd of November. The timings are as follows:

Navami Tithi Begins – 11:04 PM on 1st November & Navami Tithi Ends – 09:09 PM on 2nd November.

15 famous Jagatdhatri Puja pandals in Chandannagar

The 15 famous puja pandals in Chandannagar are given below. They are:

  • Subhaspally Sarbojanin Jagadhatri Puja committee
  • Charabagan Balak Sangha Sarbojanin Jagadhatri Puja
  • Circus Math Sarbojanin Sri Jagadhatri Puja Committee
  • Tematha Sarbojanin
  • Ambika Athletic Club Jagadhatri Puja
  • Chandannagar Helapukur Sarbojanin Jagadhatri Puja
  • Bagbazar Sarbojanin Jagadhatri Puja Committee
  • Boro Taldanga
  • Boro Kalitala
  • Chaulpatty Sarbojanin
  • Neogi Bagan Jagadhatri puja Chandannagar West Bengal
  • Natunpara Jagadhatri puja
  • Jagadhatri puja tetultala
  • Chandannagar fatakgora jagadhatri puja
  • Palpara Sarbojanin jagadhatri puja committee

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