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Durga Puja Now Included In UNESCO Heritage List

Durga Puja has been included by UNESCO in the Intangible Heritage List

Making Indians proud, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation has given intangible heritage status to the Durga Puja festival of Kolkata, making it the first Asian festival to make it to the list. The decision was taken by the organisation's 16th Committee Meeting held in Paris on December 15.

Mentioning this on its Twitter, the international body said: "Durga puja in Kolkata has just been inscribed on the intangible heritage list. Congratulations India.” Along with the tweet an image of the Goddess was attached with hashtag 'living heritage'.

An annual 10-day festival, Durga Puja celebrates Ma Durga’s victory over Mahishasur signifying the triumph of good over evil and is held in West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tripura, Assam, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, among States and neighbouring Bangladesh.

Scripture recitations, performance arts, revelry, gift-giving, family visits, feasting, and public processions mark the festival.

Hailing the UNESCO decision, Prime Minister Narendra Modi PM Modi has hailed UNESCO's decision as a "matter of great pride and joy for every Indian". His tweet reads: “A matter of great pride and joy for every Indian! Durga Puja highlights the best of our traditions and ethos. And, Kolkata’s Durga Puja is an experience everyone must have.”

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee described the decision as “a proud moment for Bengal!”. In her tweet she wrote: "Proud moment for Bengal! To every #Bengali across the world, Durga Puja is much more than a festival, it is an emotion that unites everyone. And now, #DurgaPuja has been added to the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. We are all beaming with joy!"

Referring to the Durga Puja as "festival has come to signify home-coming or a seasonal return to one's roots”, the UNESCO website describes the annual event as follows: "Durga Puja is seen as the best instance of the public performance of religion and art, and as a thriving ground for collaborative artists and designers. The festival is characterised by large-scale installations and pavilions in urban areas, as well as by traditional Bengali drumming and veneration of the goddess.”

Also read: Transgenders celebrate Durga Puja in Kolkata worshipping ‘Ardhanarishvara idol