In West Bengal, Kalparambha signifies the beginning of Durga Puja rituals. It is performed one day before Kolabou Puja, which is known as Navpatrika Puja. Kalparambha generally occurs on the Shashthi Tithi of the lunar month.
Kalparambha rituals are equivalent to Bilva Nimantran in other states. On this day, Goddess Durga is invited to stay in Bilva tree or in a Kalash. This invitation of Goddess Durga is known as Amantran and installing Her spirit into Bilva tree is known as Adhivas. Sanyakal is considered to be the best time to invoke Goddess Durga. It is approximately 2 hours and 24 minutes before sunset.
The day of Kalparambha is also known as Akal Bodhon. Akali Bodhan means untimely invocation of Goddess Durga. As per Hindu tradition, Goddess Durga is worshipped in Chaitra month of Hindu calendar. This tradition is still followed, as Goddess Durga is worshipped for nine days during Chaitra month, which is known as Chaitra Navratri. However, Chaitra Navratri has now become less significant compared to Sharad Navratri.
As per scriptures, it was Lord Rama who performed Akal Bhodon for the very first time, when he awakened Goddess Durga before his battle against demon Ravana, seeking the blessing of Goddess Durga to win the battle and rescue His wife Sita. This untimely invocation of Goddess Durga initiated the tradition of Sharad Navratri and Durga Puja.
Kalparambha during Durga Puja is symbolically equivalent to Ghatasthapana or Kalashsthapana, which is performed on the Pratipada Tithi of Navratri. In West Bengal, Durga Puja is mainly celebrated for three days, which is considered a smaller version of the 9-days celebrated in other states. According to the religious texts, Navaratri celebrated in 9 days can also be limited to 7 days, 5 days, 3 days, 2 days or even 1 day.
Significance and Legend:
According to a Hindu legend, a Buffalo Demon Mahishasura, after years of praying to Lord Brahma, was granted a boon which made him invincible. Any man or God could not kill him. After gaining power, Mahishasura started destroying the world. He began to kill people and became a threat for Gods. To annihilate Mahishasura, Goddess Durga emerged from the collective energies of Gods as a divine feminine power. The victory of Good over the Evil is celebrated during Durga Puja.
Another popular legend says that Goddess Durga visits her mother’s place during Sharda Navratri.
Celebrations and Rituals:
Kalparambha’ is an early morning ritual which is performed during Pratahkal. The ritual involves placing a ‘pot’ or Kalash filled with water and mango leaves next to the idol of Goddess Durga. The devotees make a resolution or Sankalp to observe and perform puja ceremony in a ritualistic manner during the next three days of Maha Saptami, Maha Ashtami, and MahaNavami. Kalaparambha ritual is performed before the beginning of the Durga Puja. Kalaparambho is followed by Bodhon, Amontron and Adibas.