A 10-day training workshop for priests has been organised at Daw Bari in Jorashanko. 150 priests from across the state will take part in the event.
One hundred and fifty priests from the state and 5 from Bangladesh are attending the workshop from September 4 to September 13. The workshop is being conducted from 2pm to 5pm.
According to Jayanta Kushari, the director of Sarba Bharatiya Prachya Bidya Academy and the principal organiser of the Durga Puja Purohit Proshikhon Shibir 2012, the festival has evolved over time and in order to sync with the transformation, they have started the training programme for priests.
"Durga Puja has evolved from ancient Vedic period to the present time and we want the priests to be aware of the changes," said Kushari.
The training programme was first started in 1994. Eighteen years back, the first workshop was held at the residence of Kabiraj Ganga Prasad Sen, reputed physician of old Kolkata. Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa was his regular patient.
From 1995 to 2007, the workshop has been held at Sovabazar Rajbari. From 2008, the workshop has been held at Daw Bari. The training programme has to be held in an ancestral house where the sculpture of the goddess is made.
"There is a specific rule of selecting venue for this programme. The venue must be a ground of an ancestral house where goddess is made (thakurdalan of bonedibari). Many old families have requested us to organise this camp at our house," said Kushari.
According to Kushari, there are several rituals like hom, mahaboli, mahasnan and priests need to have a detailed knowledge of it.
"Priests performing Durga Puja rituals must know the significance of particular rituals instead of merely performing them," said Kushari.
The camp will carry on special training sessions on Veda, Upanishad, Chandi and lay emphasis on right pronunciation of Sanskrit prayers.
"Priests do not have a correct pronunciation of Sasnkrit. Moreover, the rituals are dedicated to the owner of the house and priests have to be fluent in Sanskrit. We will also be holding special classes in Sanskrit," said Kushari.
On the final day of the programme there will be a practical exam and the top 3 candidates will be given medals.