There is no dearth of club pujas in Malda Town, but the Ramakrishna Mission Durga Puja holds a special place in the hearts of the local people. Thousands swear by the RK Mission Ashtami pushpanjali that is considered most auspicious by all Bengalis out of the five days of the festival. Ramakrishna Mission, Malda is one of the selected centres of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission where Durga puja is held in totality – an idol comes to the math and all rituals are observed flawlessly. This has been happening at this ashrama since 1924. This year, too, the celebrations were held at the ashrama and thousands thronged the temple to attend the puja, offer pushpanjali and also receive a helping of khichuri bhog on Ashtami afternoon.
Kumari puja, another major attraction of most of the centres of the Ramakrishna order, was also held at the Malda centre on Ashtami morning. Eight year old Debangshika Chakraborty, was the kumari this year. On the other side, over 5,000 devotees received prasad that day at the Ashrama. Navami puja concluded with an elaborate hom. Consuming meat at the ashrama is a rare occasion through the year. Although vegetables are sacrificed at the temple, a goat was sacrificed at the Johura Kali temple on Navami morning.
This year, the ashrama also received a good number of devotees from Calcutta and other parts of Bengal. Sampa Chatterjee, a resident of Ranaghat, Nadia was a guest at RKM Malda during Durga Puja. She said, “I always enjoy attending Durga Puja at Ramakrishna Mission. This is the first time I am attending Puja at the Malda centre and it was a great experience.”