Gajalaxmi Puja – Worshipping Goddess of Wealth
TNI Bureau: The festive season does not end after Durga Puja in Odisha. This is the time to worship Goddess Laxmi and observe pious Brata in the holy month of Kartik. Gajalaxmi Puja is celebrated on Kumar Purnima (falls in either September or October). It is believed that Goddess keeps her blessing on her devotees in form of Devi Laxmi after Durga Puja.
Gajalaxmi Puja is widely celebrated in Odisha with great fervor especially in Dhenkanal district. The festive mood continues for 11 days. The festival starts on the full-moon day on Kumar Purnima. People of Dhenkanal used to perform the puja seeking blessing from Devi Laxmi, the Goddess of wealth and prosperity.
According to Hindu mythology, Goddess Laxmi is believed to be born on the full-moon night of the first day of ‘Kartik’ month. Even though, the Goddess is being worshipped in different forms across India, but Gajalaxmi puja is celebrated in Dhenkanal in a special way since 1923. It is the longest festival of the district
“Gajalaxmi Puja festival in Dhenkanal started in 1923. Initially, it was organized at Kunja Sahu Chhak, which is now known as Ganesh Bazar. Gradually others started organising Laxmi Puja in other parts of the town. In the course of time, it became a part of the culture of Dhenkanal. The puja is now being organised at about 40 pandals. The glittering lights and decorations attract people from far and near to visit the town”, said Dr. Mrinal Chatterjee, Professor and Head of the Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) Dhenkanal.
However, it is time to think about adopting ways to scale down the grandeur and be environment-friendly as Goddess Laxmi does not like splurging and wastage, he added.
The district is also celebrating the Gajlaxmi Puja this year at more than 38 puja pandals including in Durga Bazar, Jubilee town, Mahisapata, Kanchan Bazar, Baji Chowk and Kaibalya Bazar. The King of Dhenkanal is reportedly going to present a gold crown weighing 1.6 kg that worth over Rs 35,000 lakh to the deity, which has been crafted in exquisite filigree work.
According to Hindu belief, Goddess Laxmi comes to Earth on the full-moon day Kumar Purnima, the day when the unmarried girls used to worship Moon, who is believed to be her brother. Gajalaxmi is one of the manifestations of Goddess Laxmi out of the eight Laxmi(s), depicted as ‘Asta Laxmi’ in Hindu mythology. The eight Laxmi(s) are – Adi Laxmi, Dhana Laxmi, Dhairya Laxmi, Gaja Laxmi, Santana Laxmi, Vijay Laxmi, Vidya Laxmi and Dhaanya (grain) Laxmi. Gajalaxmi, which literally means the goddess along with Gaja (elephant), is worshipped today.
Gaja Laxmi Puja is also known as autumn festival. The goddess is the provider of fame, Knowledge, Courage, Strength, Victory, Good Children, Valor, Gold, Gems, Grains in abundance, Happiness, Bliss, Intelligence and Beauty along with Morality, Good Health and Long Life.