Durgotosav Quiz 1996

The Asian Age : September-October 1996.

(Click on the questions to know the answer)


        27th -28th September 1996

  1. In ancient Bengal Durgotsav was a spring festival.Who started this in autumn instead of spring ?
    Raja Naba Krishna Deb of Calcutta & Raja Krishna Chandra Deb of Nadia.In 1757 they organized Durga puja in autumn to celebrate East India Company’s victory in the battle of Plassy.

  2. Who was the chief guest in Naba Krishna Dev’s family durga puja in 1757 ?
    Lord Clive

  3. Where will you find the oldest Durga idol in Calcutta now ?
    Chitteshwari temple in Chitpur.It is over 400 years old & at once worshipped by a bandit named Chite

  4. Why the community puja in Bengal is called Barowari puja ?
    In 1790 12 friends in Guptipara Hoogly first organized a community puja.Baro in Bengali means 12 & yaar means friends.So baroyari means 12 friends. Note : the puja they organized was Jagadhatri Puja – Jagadhatri is another form of Durga & this puja is celebrated in Bengal one week after Diwali.

  5. In which year communal riot broke between to communities on the day of Vijaya Dashami ?
    In 1789 people from a particular community attacked & smashed Durga idol which belonged to one Ramakanta Chatterjee & also tried to rape his daughter-in-law in broad day light.It resulted in a riot all over the city.

  6. Which was the first Sarbojonon Durgotsav ( Community puja ) in Calcutta ?
    Bagbazar Sarbojinin & Simla Beyam Samity

  7. Why did the British Govt once stopped the Simla Bayam Samiti puja for couple of years ?
    It was suspected by the British police that the puja is an assembly of revolutionist from all over Bengal.

  8. In 1901 Swami Vivekananda started Durga puja at Belur math but one of his desire was not fulfilled. What was that ?
    Swami Vivekananda wanted pashubali ( animal sacrifice ) but could not do so due to the objection of Sarada-ma.

  9. Why Raja Ram Mohan Roy once refuse the invitation of Durga puja in Prince Dwarkanath Tagore.
    Dwarakanath sent the invitation through his son Debendranath & that made Ram mohan insulted.Needless to say local press made a lot out of this.

  10. 29th -30th September 1996 :

  11. Name the famous Kumartuli clay modeler who was a Christian.
    Antony Saheb

  12. Who was the most demanded dancer in Calcutta from 1816 to 1823 during the puja days ?
    Nikki Bai.

  13. Why the Durga puja of 1976 was special to all Bengali people ?
    In 1976 the famous Mahishashur mardini program was aired on Maha saptami day instead of Mahalaya.(The first day of Navaratri)

  14. In old Calcutta puja culture what was Takti & Peraki ?
    These are two special sweets.

  15. Which year in last decade Bengal celebrated Durga puja twice – Once in September & once in October.

  16. Which book written by Halwell gives us lot of information about Calcutta’s Durga puja ?
    Interesting Historical Events (1766 )

  17. Name the Governor of East India Company who abolished the tax on the festival of Durga puja ?
    Warren Hastings

  18. Name the famous English painter who sketched some matchless painting of Durga immersion at Murshidabad Ganga on October 9 1788 ?
    Thomas Daniel. Those paintings are now preserved at Victoria Memorial Hall in Calcutta.

  19. Her husband Krishnanath a famous zamindar planned to established India’s first university in 1842.In 1847 after his death she built up a natyamandir in Cossimbazar where Durga puja was continuously performed upto 1982 when it changed to private worship. Who was she ?
    Maharani Swarnamoyoee

  20. 1st October -2nd October 1996

  21. Which Governor General of Bengal granted Rs 500 to the minor zamindar of Dinajpur for the performance of Saradiya Durga Puja under the famous “ Court of word “.
    Lord Walleseley.

  22. There is family puja in Calcutta where dhakis (the drum beaters) are allowed to play on Vijaya Dashami day .Which family is this ?
    Family puja of Haldar household at Bag bazaar in north Calcutta.

  23. What was the old name of Bagbazar Sarbojonon Durgotsav ?
    Nebubagan Durgotsav – the name continued from 1918 to 1925.

  24. A biplabi ( revolutionist ) of Jugantar group took the initiative to organize the Simla Beyam samiti puja. Who was he ?
    Atindranath Bose

  25. Whta is so special about Kumartuli Kabirajbari Durgotsav Puja ?
    If Saptami & Ashtami fall on the same day they worship two Kali idol called Jora Kali along with Durga.

  26. In which year did the college square sarbojonon durga puja commenced ?

  27. Which family of Calcutta use the same bamboo structure ( kathamo ) every year to make their idol ?
    Interesting Historical Events (1766 )

  28. What is the unique characteristics which the Goswami bari Durga puja of Chitpur has ?
    The idol of Laxmi & Saraswati do not have owl & duck by their sides. Moreover Durga rests her foot on a white horse & not on a lion back.

  29. Youth Association ( Md Ali park ) is one of the big budgeted Durga Puja in Calcutta now.What was the budget of their puja in 1968 when it started ? Any guess ?
    Rs 500 !!!

  30. Adi Lake Pally sarbojonin Durgostsav in south Calcutta recently created a controversy.What was it ?
    They recently claimed that their puja is the oldest community puja in Calcutta started in 1915.However they have failed to support their claim with any strong evidence.)

  31. A Congress president once became the president of a north Calcutta puja committee. Name the president & the puja committee.
    Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.He was the president of Kumartuli Sarbojonin Durga puja in 1938 & 1939.He was also president of Barbazar Sarbojonin in the same period

    3rd October 1996

  32. In whose house did Sri Ramakrishna came twice to celebrate Durga Puja ?
    Adharlal Sen. Ramkrishna came to his Calcutta residence both in 1883 & 1884 during the puja.

  33. Where can we see the oldest Durga idol in Bengal ?
    It is the Mrinmoyee idol found in Bishnupur fort.It was established in 997 by Raja Jagatmalla.

  34. Name the English man who took serious steps to prevent hooliganism in the name of Puja fund collection in Behala in in 1840 ?
    Peton Shaheb.

  35. Rani Rashmoni’s son-in-law Mathur Biswas used to perform puja in his house but in 1890 he suddenly stopped it. Local people took the initiative & organized the same as community puja. Name the puja committee.
    Arya Dharma Procharani Shabha & it’s budget was only Rs 35.

  36. Which royal family of Bengal still fires canons before starting Sandhi puja ?
    Malla royal family of Bishnupur.

  37. Name the village in Uttar Pradesh where the oldest Mahishashur Mardini idol was found ?
    Vita village ( near Allahabad ).It is now preserved in Indian Museum Calcutta.

  38. 4th October 1996

  39. Apart from Hindus which community worship Devi Durga ?
    Phyrgian of Asia minor. They call it Gadan Maa which means the mother of the earth. Gadan maa also rides a lion & kills a demon with a trishul.

  40. What is the meaning of the word Durga ?
    Someone who lives in remote & rough place. )

  41. In early days Durga was worshipped not as a goddess of power but something else.What was it ?
    Goddess of agriculture.

  42. During Durga puja a special kind of earth is required as a custom. What kind of earth is this ?
    Earth from the prostitutes house – it is believed that when a man enters in to a prostitute’s place he off loads all noble quality of his character & those qualities are mingled on the soil of the yard – so the soil is considered sacred & used in puja.

  43. Out of Laxmi,Saraswati,Ganesh & Kartik who is the only son of Shiva & Parvati ?
    Only Kartik. Ganesh is the sole creation of Pravati. Laxmi & Saraswati are not related to the family.

  44. Why are Laxmi & Saraswati are placed beside Durga ?
    Durga is the goddess of agriculture while Laxmi & Saraswati are the goddess of corps & river. As all three are inter related so they are worshipped together.

  45. Which book written by Halwell gives us lot of information about Calcutta’s Durga puja ?
    ) Interesting Historical Events (1766 )

  46. On Maha Ashtami day Durga attains a special form – What is that ?
    Maha Gouri – the most beautiful form of Durga.

  47. What is common in Kattayani,Bhadra, Vaishnavi,Tarita & Mundomalini ?
    There are the different names of Naba Durga (nine different form of the goddess)

  48. Who is Ganesha’s wife ?

  49. Which is the other flower along with the lotus is needed to worship Durga ?

  50. What is the first name of Naba Durga ?
    Saila putri(the daughter of rock or Himalaya )

  51. 9th October 1996

  52. Who started Durgotsav in the Coachbehar royal family ?
    Maharaja Vishwa Singh ( 1496-1533 )

  53. Name the oldest Bengali literature that refers to the Durga puja in Bengal?
    Ramcharit by Sandhayakar Nandi in 12th century.

  54. Name the first Bengali poet who explained & pioneered different rules & processes of Durga puja.
    Pandit Balak Sarva.

  55. The 960 years old Gar temple near Durgapur is famous for a special reason in relation to Durga. What is it ?
    Here the Durga is Shyamarupi (a fusion of Durga & Kali)

  56. This day Mallik family of Calcutta worships a special Durga idol which was taken from a royal family in Rajasthan. Name the special Durga idol & the family from where it was collected.
    The family of Man Singh & the idol is called Devi Thaneshwari.She has four hands and it’s lion kills an elephant which lies dead under it’s feet.

  57. When Man Singh vanquished king Pratapaditya of Bengal he also seized Pratapaditya’s family idol of Durga & established it in his own native place in Rajasthan. Name the idol.
    Jashoreshwari Durga .It was earlier worshipped in Jessore now in Bangladesh.

    10th October – 11th October 1996

  58. Devi baran on Vijaya Dashami day is na exclusive function of hindi married women but there is family puja in Calcutta where only male priests are allowed to perform this. Which family puja we are talking about ?
    Da family in North Calcutta – reason unknown.

  59. What is very special about Raikat Zamindari Durgotsav ?
    Here Durga rides a tiger & wears a photo a Bodo dress.The raikat royal family was originally a tribal form of North-East

  60. In Gujarat & Rajasthan a goddess seated over a tiger is worshipped as a replica of Durga .What is the name of the goddess ?
    Amba Devi

  61. In which city of India you will find the temple of Kanak Durga ?
    Vijaywada in Andhra Pradesh.It is situated atop of Kiladri hills.In Bengal’s Jhargram town also there is a dilapidated temple known as Kanak Durga temple.

  62. Which south Indian royal family worships Durga by the name of Chamundeshwari ?
    Wodeyar family of Mysore .

  63. Name the district of Bengal where a special festival festival called Madyan Vijaya is celebrated on the 12th day I,e Dadoshi.
    Bishnupur in Bankura. It is a spectacular dance show called Ravankatha held at Raghunathji temple.

  64. The family idol of Roychowdhury in Barisha is as follows : (An idol like this has a special name – what is that ? )
    The face of Durga is reddish brown, Ganesh is bright green,Mahishashur is red. (Durga bhakti Tarangini.)

  65. Name the zamindar of Kidderpore whose place has a 250 years old Ashtadhatu Durga idol.
    Raja Jainarayan Ghoshal

  66. In Natore a zamindari estate in east Bengal sandhi puja does not take place during Durga puja - why ?
    Every year a man used to ride on a horse from Jaykali mandir to palace to indicate the beginning of the puja. On one occasion the rider suddenly slipped & died.The sandhi puja was stopped after that.

  67. 17th October – 18th October 1996

  68. What is very special about Pashubali ( animal sacrifice ceremony ) in the Har Chowdhury family puja in south Bengal ?
    In old days seven,eight & nine goats were sacrificed on Saptami,Ashtami & Nabami respectively & two goats one white & one black used to kept for Laxmi puja & Kali puja

  69. Why the dhakis beat drum during puja ?
    According to hindu mythology Sati the wife of Shiva became Kali at Dakshajagya time. Then drum beaters were called to welcome this new form of Sati.Infact the beating of the drum is a celebration of the defeat of all evil powers.

  70. Although Durga puja is the biggest festival in Bengal but it is amazing that there is hardly any Durga temple prevailing in Bengal.Out of those few temple one we find near Uluberia called Patal Durga mandir where the puja has been stopped since 1900.What is the reason ?
    In 1900 on Nabami a young zamindar named Raghunath committed suicide by drowning himself in the river – after that puja was stopped.

  71. Which Bengali periodical first published the puja number (Saradia sankhya)
    Prabashi in 1918– the number was named Puja barshiki Prabashi.

  72. Which raga is played by drum beaters when Devi’s maha snan & bhog are performed ?
    Lalit & Barai raga.

  73. Name the last puja literary collection of Deb Sahitya Kutir published in 1984.
    Aradhana – after this Saradiya Suktara begun to publish from 1985.

A Quiz on Goddess Durga and Durga Puja

The Statesman: 19th October,1996.

(Click on the questions to know the answer)


  1. In ancient Bengal “Durgotsav”was a spring festival.Who started it in autumn?
    Naba Krishna Dev of Calcutta and Krishna Chandra Dev of Nadia .In 1757 ,they organized Durga Puja in autumn to celebrate East India Company”s victory in the battle of Plassey.

  2. Who was the chief guest in Naba Krishna Dev”s Durga Puja in 1757?
    Lord Clive.

  3. Where will you find the oldest Durga idol in Calcutta at present?
    Chitteshari temple in Chitpur.It is more than 400 years old.

  4. Why is the community puja in Bengal called “barowari puja”?
    In 1790,twelve friends in Guptipara Hoogly first organized a community puja .Baro is 12 and yari means friends and hence the word barowari.

  5. In which year did a communal riot break out on bijoya dasami day?

  6. Where did the first community puja (sarbojanin durgotsav)begin in Calcutta?
    Bagbazar Sarbojanin and Simla Bayam Samity in 1926.

  7. Why did the British Government stop the puja at Simla Bayam Samiti for a couple of years?
    The British suspected that the venue was a meeting ground for revolutionaries.

  8. When Swami Vivekananda started Durga puja in 1901,one request of his was not granted.What was that?
    Vivekananda had wanted animal sacrifice but Sarada ma objected to it.

  9. Why did Ram Mohon Roy once refuse the Durga Puja invitation to Dwaraknath Tagore”s house?
    Ram Mohon Roy felt insulted because Dwarakanath had sent his son Debendranath as his emissary.

  10. Name the famous Christian artist of kumartuli.
    Antony Sahab.

  11. During the year 1816 and 1823 ,which dancer was most in demand during the puja days in Calcutta?
    Nikhi Bai.

  12. What was so special about the Durga Puja held in 1976 in Bengal?
    In this year the famous annual festive programme Mahishashura Mardini was aired on Mahasaptami day instead of Mahalaya.

  13. What is “Takti”and “Peraki” in old Calcutta puja centre?
    Two traditional sweets of Durga Puja.

  14. In which year of the last decade did Bengal celebrate Durga Puja twice-once in September and the other in October?

  15. Name the book by Hallwell which contains a wealth of information about the “Durgotsav” in Calcutta?
    Interesting Historical Events(1766)

    In response to the above publication one reader of The Statesman wrote back pointing out a factual distortion. The same was published in letter to editor column of The Statesman dated 26th October 1996. I replied back backing my point but that letter was never published.

    The letter written by the reader is given below :

    Sir – Approves of Somen Sengupta’s answer in the Quiz column ( Saturday Statesman – 19th October 1996 ) may I humbly state that it was neither Nabakrishna Deb of Calcutta nor Krishna Chandra Deb of Nadia who first started celebrating Durgotsav in 1757.The fact is that the king Kansanarayan of Teherpur in Rajshahi district ( now in Bangladesh ) first started it in the 15th century ( vide Bangla bhasha o Sahitya by Dr Dinesh Chandra Sen ). The Bengali poet Krittibas Ojha was the court poet of King Kansanarayan & as such he included it in his Bengali Ramayana as Akal Bodhan which is not found in Balmiki’s Ramayan.

    Surath Chakravarty. Calcutta – 21st October 1996.