Jagadhatri puja is a cultural festival celebrated especially in Krishnanagar and Chandannagar of Kolkata. The deity is known to be the protector of the world with her serene form and is worshipped during this time of the year.
As many significant events are believed to occur first in dreams in Hindu mythology, the same holds true for Jagadharti Puja. According to legend, Maharaja Krishnachandra had a dream in which he saw the form of Jagadhatri, leading him to start worshipping the idol in that form. While the precise origin of the puja is not accurately documented, it is believed to have begun around 1750. Other sources narrate the origin differently. It is said that Nawab Siraj-ud-Daula or Nawab Alivardi Khan demanded a large sum of money from Maharaja Krishnachandra, which he refused to provide. Consequently, he was imprisoned. Upon his release, he learned that Durga Puja had concluded, and he felt disheartened for not being able to witness Devi. That very night, Devi appeared in his dream and instructed him to worship her. The grand festival commenced when he worshipped Devi after Durga Puja.
After this inspiring beginning, Dewan Indranarayan Choudhury, a French courtier, started the puja of Jagadhatri in Chandannagar, which was formerly a French colony. The puja takes place in the Sukla Paksha after Diwali and begins on Shashti (the sixth day of the lunar fortnight in the Hindu calendar). This puja is considered the return of Durga, where devotees worship the reincarnation of the Goddess in the name of Jagadhatri. The term 'Jagadhatri' means the 'holder of the world,' emphasizing her role as the protector of the world. The idol is crafted with four arms, carrying weapons, and riding a lion. The Goddess is mentioned in the Kena Upanishad and Katyayani Tantra.
After Durga's triumph over Mahishashur, the Gods seemingly forgot and overlooked her capabilities. Durga manifested as Parvati before Agni, Vayu, Varuna, and Chandra, who were enveloped in a sense of pride in their powers. Parvati gave them the simple task of taking out and moving a tiny blade of grass. However, the great Gods failed in that endeavor. Despite numerous attempts, Vayu couldn't pluck it, and Agni couldn't burn it. Eventually, they realized that Devi is the source and power of everything in the world. She appeared before them as Uma, riding a lion. Many legends claim that the lion symbolizes valor and courage, with an elephant under its paws representing the false pride of the Gods.
Chandannagar celebrates the Jagadhatri form of the Goddess grandly. From lights to decorations and street processions, the celebration unites the people. Beautiful idols are created, and cultural activities such as singing and traditional dance performances are held. Pandals are built with impressive decorations and lightwork.