Kalparambha marks the beginning of the Durga Puja festival in West Bengal. The Indian state of West Bengal celebrates Durga Pooja, which is a shorter version of Navratri, and it lasts for three to four days. The Kalparambha ritual is observed on Sashti Tithi (sixth lunar day) in the Shukla paksha (bright fortnight) of Ashwin month. The Durga Puja festival continues for the next four days – Saptami (7th lunar day), Ashtami (8th lunar day), Navami (9th lunar day), and Dashami (10th lunar day).
The festival of Durga Puja, also known as Durgotsava, is celebrated in the Shukla Paksha of Ashwin month. It’s a festival dedicated to Goddess Durga. The unveiling of the Goddess idols starts on Maha Sasthi after the Kalparambha ritual. Kalparambha is observed a day prior to Navpatrika Puja, also known as Kolabou Puja. The main Puja days are Maha Saptami, Maha Ashtami and Maha Navami. The main observations include chanting Mantras, reciting Slokas, singing Arati and offerings.
When is Kalparambha 2021?
Kalparambha 2021 Date and Timings
Kalparambha 2021 is on October 11 Monday
Sashti Tithi Beginning: 02:16:18 on October 11, 2021
Sashti Tithi Ending : 23:52:30 on October 11, 2021
Kolabou Puja: on Tuesday, October 12, 2021
The 2021 Durga Puja Festival is from October 11 to October 15
How is Kalparambha observed?
Kalparambha and Akal Bodhan rituals observed on the Shashti Tithi are similar to the Ghatasthapna (Kalashsthapana) ritual observed on the first day of the Sharada Navaratri festival. In some other states, this ritual is known as Bilva Nimantran.
Kalparambha ritual is performed on Sashti Tithi before the beginning of the Durga Puja. Devotees perform Kalparambha during Pratan Kaal (early morning), which is believed to be the most auspicious time for observing this ritual.
The ritual involves installing an earthen pot or Kalash filled with water and mango leaves next to the idol of Goddess Durga. The devotees then worship the goddess by chanting mantras to invoke her into the Kalash. Then a Sankalp or pledge is made to perform all the puja ceremonies in a ritualistic manner during the next three days of Maha Saptami, Maha Ashtami, and Maha Navami. Kalparambh ritual is usually followed by Bodhan, Amantran, and Adhivas.
The Bilva Nimantran ritual, which is followed in some other states, is equivalent to Kalparambha. This ritual involves inviting Goddess Durga to stay in a Bilva tree or a holy pot known as Kalash. This act of inviting the goddess is called Amantran, and installing her spirit into the tree or Kalash is called Adhivas. Unlike Kalparambha, Bilva Nimantran is performed during Sandyakal, which is 2 hours and 24 minutes before sunset.
Akal Bodhan, or simply Bodhan, is performed in the evening time on Sashti day. The word Bodhan means to wake someone up from sleep. Sharad Navaratri and Durga Puja occur during Dakshinayan Kaal when Sun is in its southward journey. According to Hindu beliefs, the deities are asleep at this time of the year. So, in order to worship Goddess Durga, the devotees have to ritualistically wake her up, and for this purpose, Akal Bodhan Puja is performed.
Traditionally, the Bodhan ritual involves placing a Kalash or pot filled with water under a Bilva tree.
Then prayers are offered to the goddess to wake her up. The Amantran and Adhivas rituals follow this.
The Story behind Akal Bodhan
It is believed that Lord Ram was the first one to perform Akal Bodhan as he wanted to wake the goddess up and seek her blessings to fight off Ravana. Before this, Chaitra Navratri had more importance and was the most celebrated Navratri festival. Lord Ram, through his adoration of Goddess Durga, made her wake up at an unusual time during Sharad Navaratri. This is the reason why the ritual is called Akal (unusual time) Bodhan.
Since this event, devotees started worshipping Durga in Sharad Navratri, and over time, this became the most significant Navratri festival. During Dussehra, which is celebrated on Vijayadashami (the last day of Sharad Navratri and Durga Puja celebrations), life-size idols of Ravana, Meghan, and Kumbhakaran are burnt as a symbolic win of good over evil.
Significance of Durga Puja and Kalparambha
Navratri and Durga Puja are Vedic festivals dedicated to the worship of feminine energy. So, Durga Puja is a symbol of women’s empowerment. The mythology of Lord Ram worshipping Goddess Durga to fight off Ravana is a reminder to all of us. This story tells us the fact that it is absolutely okay for a woman to have more power, status, education, and maturity than men. A man should never take it as an insult to seek help from a woman or to accept her superiority. The Kalparambha ritual is a ceremonial pledging to the goddess or divine femininity to rightly perform the pujas in the succeeding days of Durga Puja. This act is an implication of committing ourselves to honor womanhood.