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Durga Puja Is Not Complete Without The Beat Of The Dhak


About the Instrument

Dhak is one of the oldest percussion instruments of Bengal similar to two sided drums. It is made of a big wooden shell with two parchment heads or sides tightened by leather straps. It is generally played with two wooden sticks beating one side, by either resting the drum on the ground on the other head, or by hanging it from the shoulder with a strap. Other variations of this instrument are also available in different size and names (like "Dhol", "Dholok"). 
Dhak is an integral part of any worship. Its beat and the rhythm create the ambience for any Bengali puja festival . The "Dhakis", create the moods for the various moments of the puja by playing the dhak with relevant rhythm and varying speed.


History of Playing Dhak

In Bengal, dhak has been used since ancient times and is referred to in various literatures like "Mangal Kabya" written during the middle ages ("Madhyajug"). During those times, along with using it during the puja festivals, dhak was also played for different occasions like cultural functions (song, drama), public announcements by the administrators, and even during various processions. In course of time, these usages have decreased and are sometimes seen infrequently in the rural areas only. However, even in this age of glamour and light and themes, any Bengali puja festival can only be complete with the mesmerizing sound and rhythm of the quintessential dhak.

Product description

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 Vishwakarma Puja
Vishwakarma Temple, Lohgarh, Zirakpur (Near Chandigarh)
Since Vishwakarma is the divine engineer of the world, as a mark of reverence, he is not only worshiped by the engineering and architectural community but also by all professionals. It is customary for craftsmen to worship their tools in his name.

Silpy Vishwakarma is attributed a putative birthday by the Hindu religion. The more philosophical minded argue that it is impossible for the original Creator of everything to be born on a particular day. In Rig veda he is described as Swayambhu So it is a contradiction in terms since that presupposes another creator for Vishwakarma. The Vishwakarma Puja is celebrated in all parts of Nepal and India.

Even among those who believe that there is a birthday there is no agreement as to when it actually occurs. Visvakarma birthday is celebrated on two days under different names:

Vishwakarma Puja. "Vishwakarma Puja" always celebrated in India on the 17th September of every Year.
Rishi Panchami Dinam. "Rishi Panchami Dinam" literally means ‘the day of the solidarity of five rishis.’ Those who celebrate this day believe that Vishwakarma did not have a birthday like the mortals but only a commemoration day in which his five children (supposedly five rishis) came together to declare their solidarity and pray to their illustrious father. This day follows the rules of the Hindu calendar and changes with every year. The five groups among the Vishwakarma community also celebrate this as an auspicious day in commemoration of their patron god at present.
Visvakarma Jayanthi. Vishwakarma Jayanthi is celebrated by all industrial houses, artists, craftsmen, and weavers. The festival is observed on Kanya Sankranti (16 September in 2016)[23] which follows the Ganesh Puja. It was on this particular day that the forefathers of the present Visvakarma people invented the plough and gave it to humanity. The plough represents both the artisan trade as well as agriculture and therefore becomes the representative symbol of the ancient Indian civilisation. It changed the course of human history altogether. This was a change from ‘local mob culture to universal human culture’ and Vishwakarmas of India pioneered it. Coincidentally, this also becomes the birthday of Rsi/Silpi Visvakarma. So Indians in the past celebrated this day of many illustrious conjunctions as an occasion to honor Vishwakarma and his descendants.
Vishvakarman is a particular god of Hindu railwaymen in India


Ganesha Chaturthi

One of the most anticipated and lively festivals in India, Sri Ganesha Chaturthi is dedicated to the beloved elephant-headed god, Ganesha. Worshipped throughout the world wherever large Indian populations are found, the fervent devotion and colorful celebrations which attend this festival reveal just how vital Ganesha is to the spiritual heartbeat of India.

Even though each Hindu deity represents only a few aspects of the one Lord, devotees in India naturally tend to hold dearest one form more than another, for instance maybe Shiva more than Krishna, or Rama more than Kali, etc. However, all easily love and worship Lord Ganesha. He is said to be the remover of obstacles and a bringer of good fortune. Add to this His plump belly and cheerful nature, and it’s no wonder that everyone adores Him! Therefore, before any worship is offered, or beginning any undertaking whatsoever, Ganesha is propitiated. This is why His image is found in all temples and on all altars. His blessings ensure smooth sailing!
As with all of the Hindu deities, the symbolism of Ganesha is multi-layered and profound. He represents Pranava, the seed syllable OM. Just as Ganesha comes first before the other gods, OM comes at the beginning of all other mantras. The symbol for OM even resembles an elephant head! OM represents the Nada, the original substratum of Creation, from which all else arises. That substratum is identical to our essential nature, the Self. Usually depicted riding a mouse (the ego), Ganesha represents the Self in its complete conquest over egoism. He is also depicted holding an ankusha (goad), which represents His Lordship over the entire world.

There is a symbolic story {read the story} that tells of how Ganesha came by His elephant head, and received the honour of being worshipped before all of the other gods.

Traditionally held to be Ganesha’s birthday, the Chaturthi day itself falls on the 4th day of the bright fortnight of Bhadrapada* (August-September). Then it is proceded over a week of pujas, bhajans and cultural programs. A clay idol of Ganesha is made and worshipped on all of the festival days with prayers and devotional songs. The festivities culminate with the Ganesha Visarjan, where the idol is carried in a procession to the sea, river, or other large body of water, to be ceremonially immersed. The symbolism of this immersion ceremony reveals that at the heart of worship of different deities there remains the profound understanding that all forms are temporary, having both their origin and final destination in the formless Absolute.

Ganesh Chaturthi
Ganesh Chaturthi commemorates the birthday of Lord Ganesh. On this day, beautiful handcrafted idols of the Lord are installed both in homes and in public. Prana Pratishtha is performed to invoke the power of the deity into the idol, followed by a 16 step ritual known as Shodashopachara Puja. During the ritual, various offerings including sweets, coconuts, and flowers are made to the idol. The ritual should be performed at an auspicious time around midday, known as Madhyahna, when Lord Ganesh is believed to have been born.

It's important, according to tradition, not to look at the moon during certain times on Ganesh Chaturthi. If a person sees the moon, they'll be cursed with accusations of theft and dishonored by society unless they chant a certain mantra.

Apparently, this came about after Lord Krisha was falsely accused of stealing a valuable jewel. Sage Narada said that Krishna must've seen the moon on Bhadrapada Shukla Chaturthi (the occasion that Ganesh Chaturthi falls on) and was cursed because of it. Furthermore, anyone who saw the moon then would be cursed in a similar way.


The idols of Lord Ganesh are worshiped every day, with an aarti in the evening. The largest Ganesh statues, on display to the public, are usually taken out and immersed in water on Anant Chaturdasi.  However, many people who keep an idol in their homes carry out the immersion much before this.

Read More: Guide to Ganesh Visarjan (Immersion) in Mumbai

What is the Significance of Anant Chaturdasi?
You may be wondering why the immersion of Ganeshi idols concludes on this day.  Why is it special? In Sanskrit, Anant refers to eternal or infinite energy, or immortality. The day is actually devoted to the worship of Lord Anant, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu (the preserver and sustainer of life, also referred to as the supreme being). Chaturdasi means the "fourteenth". In this case, the occasion falls on the 14th day of the bright half of the moon during the month of Bhadrapada on the Hindu calendar.

Krishna Janmashtami, also known simply as Janmashtami or Gokulashtami, is an annual Hindu festival that celebrates the birth of Krishna, the eighth avatar of Vishnu. It is observed according to Hindu luni-solar calendar, on the eighth day (Ashtami) of the Krishna Paksha (dark fortnight) in the month of Shraavana of the Hindu Calendar, which overlaps with August and September of the Gregorian calendar.
It is an important festival particularly to the Vaishnavism tradition of Hinduism. Dance-drama enactments of the life of Krishna according to the Bhagavata Purana (such as Rasa lila or Krishna Lila), devotional singing through the midnight when Krishna is believed to have been born, fasting (upavasa), a night vigil (jagarana), and a festival (mahotsava) on the following day are a part of the Janmashtami celebrations. It is celebrated particularly in Mathura and Brindavan, along with major Vaishnava and non-sectarian communities found in Manipur, Assam, West Bengal, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and other regions. Krishna Janmashtami is followed by the festival Nandotsav, which celebrates the occasion when Nanda Baba distributed gifts to the community in honour of the birth.
Significance:-
Krishna was the son of Devaki and Vasudeva and his birthday is celebrated by Hindus as Janmashtami, particularly those of the Vaishnavism tradition as he is considered the eighth avatar of Vishnu. Janmashtami is celebrated when Krishna is believed to have been born according to Hindu tradition, which is in Mathura, at midnight on the eighth day of Shraavana month (overlaps with August and September in the Gregorian calendar).
Krishna was born in an era of chaos, persecution was rampant, freedoms were denied, evil was everywhere, and when there was a threat to his life by his uncle King Kamsa. Immediately following the birth, his father Vasudeva took Krishna across Yamuna, to foster parents in Gokul, named Nanda and Yashoda. This legend is celebrated on Janmashtami by people keeping fast, singing devotional songs of love for Krishna, and keeping a vigil into the night. After Krishna's midnight hour birth, statues of baby Krishna are washed and clothed, then placed in a cradle. The devotees then break their fast, by sharing food and sweets. Women draw tiny foot prints outside their house doors and kitchen, walking towards their house, a symbolism for Krishna's journey into their homes.
Celebrations:-

Hindus celebrate Janmashtami by fasting, singing, praying together, preparing and sharing special food, night vigils and visiting Krishna or Vishnu temples. Major Krishna temples organize recitation of Bhagavata Purana and Bhagavad Gita. Many communities organize dance-drama events called Rasa Lila or Krishna Lila. The tradition of Rasa Lila is particularly popular in Mathura region, in northeastern states of India such as Manipur and Assam, and in parts of Rajasthan and Gujarat. It is acted out by numerous teams of amateur artists, cheered on by their local communities, and these drama-dance plays begin a few days before each Janmashtami.




Janmashtami commemorates the earthly appearance of Krishna, who is described in India’s sacred writings as God Himself. One of the biggest religious festivals in the world, it is celebrated by nine hundred and thirty million people around the world--and two million in the US alone. To devotees, it’s Christmas and New Year’s in one, a day of deep spiritual renewal and celebration that effectively finishes an old year and begins a fresh one.

What is Janmashtami?
But why Janmashtami, you may ask? What’s so special about Krishna, as opposed to any other form of God? It’s His personable-ness. He reciprocates in unique, personal ways with every devotee who offers Him love—He is the most adorable, mischievous son, the most romantic lover, the most compassionate friend. And on Janmashtami, devotees celebrate Krishna in all of these aspects. For just as Krishna reciprocates individually with His relatives and confidantes, he responds to the distinct feelings and desires held most deeply in the heart of every single worshipper.
So remember that whatever way you worship Krishna on Janmashtami, He will reciprocate with you accordingly. It’s a meditation that makes for an extremely rewarding devotional experience.

How is Janmashtami Celebrated?

Where Vaishnava temples exist, festivities begin before dawn and extend all day until midnight, the exact moment of the anniversary of Krishna’s appearance. Events include kirtan, singing the Lord’s name along with other devotees; and japa, private, more intimate prayer. Some devotees cook a feast of over one hundred dishes, while others perform drama and dance. Some clothe and decorate the deity of Krishna while others string enormous flower garlands and other decorations for the temple. Incense burns, scriptures are read, and all but the young and the infirm fast all day. The deities are also bathed with a variety of auspicious liquids in a kind of ablution ceremony called abhisheka. Sometimes taking over two hours, this is performed with great pomp.
Finally, at midnight, priests pull apart the curtains to reveal the
freshly dressed deity of Krishna on a creatively festooned and colored
altar. The excitement builds, and a rousing kirtan ensues.

How to Celebrate Janmashtami at Home
But what if you don’t live near a temple? What if you can’t make it to a major celebration Does that mean you can’t observe Janmashtami? Of course not. It is our sincere devotion that pleases Krishna most, and this can be offered anywhere. So to help you feel more connected to the Lord and His devotees on this special day, here are Krishna.com’s tips on how to celebrate Janmashtami at home:

Invite all your friends and family to participate in the festivities.
Decorating your home for Krishna can be fun, particularly for children. Encourage them in helping to make garlands, hanging balloons and festoons of leaves, and generally making the house beautiful for Krishna’s appearance.
Get a copy of the Vaishnava Songbook and choose some of your favorite bhajanas(devotional songs in praise of God) to sing. Krishna, also known as Murlidhara, or “one who holds the flute,” loves music. And so will your friends and family, as you take turns singing and playing instruments. Alternatively, play bhajan CDs and heighten the spiritual atmosphere.
You can also chant extra rounds of the Hare Krishna mantra on your japa mala (prayer beads). This is an intimate one on one exchange with Krishna, and makes you feel much closer to the Lord.
Read the story of Krishna’s advent and other exciting pastimes from Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead or Srimad Bhagavatam, Canto Ten. Pass the book around, and try dramatic readings to bring the story to life. Janmashtami is all about completely immersing yourself in thoughts of Krishna in a festive way.
If you have Radha-Krishna deities, get extra special new outfits for Them. Exercise your creativity and pay special attention to decorating Their altar.
Recreate the temple program and hold an abhisheka bathing
ceremony for your deities. Simply buy different liquids like yogurt,
honey, ghee and fruit juices and bathe the deity with them while
singing devotional songs.
Temples prepare at least one hundred and eight different food dishes on Janmashtami. Of course, you don’t have to go that far, unless you’re feeling particularly energetic! But it’s always nice to cook some very special preparations to offer to the Lord. Imagine that Krishna was actually right there, in your house—what would you offer Him? This makes for a wonderful meditation while cooking on Janmashtami.
Have a midnight arati (worship ceremony) with a
kirtan. This is the exact time that Krishna appeared on this
planet, so it is most auspicious and spiritually inspiring. If you
have arati paraphernalia, then you can do a full offering. If
not, don’t worry–Krishna says in the Bhagavad-gita, “If you
offer Me with love a leaf, flower, fruit or water, I will accept it.”
So offer whatever you can—it’s your love and devotion that matters.
Tune into Krishna.com’s webcams and watch the festivities going on at some of ISKCON’s major temples.
Buy a special gift for the Lord. You can wrap it and write a card to Krishna. Here are some gift ideas:
If you have Deities you can buy or make jewelry, new clothes, garlands, peacock feathers, turban pieces, flutes or water cups Incense Fruit basket Offering plate New picture frame if you worship a picture of Krishna Brand new aratiset.
If you are able to fast from food, fasting until midnight is recommended. If fasting is too difficult, then try to eat only light foods during the day. By putting our own needs aside and concentrating more on Krishna’s, we show our love for Him.

You can engage your children in many of the above activities. Depending on your children’s ages, they can help cook, make garlands, design a birthday card, play musical instruments, dance and chant Hare Krishna. There are many children’s books about Krishna as well as DVDs of Krishna pastimes at the Krishna.com store.

Children also enjoy dressing up as Radha, Krishna and their associates, and re-enacting Krishna’s pastimes. This helps to create a very festive mood.
As you celebrate Janmashtami, remember that just as we enjoy the attention and fun on our birthday, so the Lord also enjoys our attention and gifts on His appearance day. The difference between us and Krishna is that He is able to reciprocate perfectly with each one of us. In the transcendental realm, everything that we offer to the Lord with love and devotion will benefit us unlimitedly, and those benefits will stay with us for eternity.

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