Afternoon showers and an overcast sky failed to dampen the spirit of revellers as people of West Bengal soaked in festive spirit today on the occasion of ‘Mahasaptami’, marking the beginning of the worship of Goddess Durga during her four-day sojourn to her maternal abode.
Showers occurred in different parts of the state, including the metropolis, during the afternoon, but the rain God relented before evening as thousands of people from all walks of life poured into the streets and queued in front of puja pandals.
The day began with the taking out of banana plantains – ‘Nabapatrika’ (symbolising Lord Ganesha’s wife) for a ritual dip at nearest water bodies with most preferring the River Ganges, as priests made arrangements for the day’s worship of the Goddess and her celestial family.
After the morning rituals, worshippers offered ‘Pushpanjali’ (floral libations) to the Goddess amid chanting of mantras (hymns) later in the day.
Pandal-hoppers visited popular pandals in all parts of the city and enjoyed the illumination and feasted their eyes on the decor. Some major draws witnessed half-a-kilometre long queues as people waited patiently to view the intricate art works that resulted from months of hard work by the community puja organisers.
Possibility of moderate to heavy rain on the third and fourth day (October 10 and October 11) of the puja, as forecast by the Met department, also played a role in people trying to make the most of the festivities as fast as possible.
A cyclonic circulation that has formed over north Bay of Bengal is at present lying near the Odisha coast, but is likely to move north-eastwards towards Gangetic West Bengal causing more rainfall, according to the Weathermen.
Kolkata Police personnel, along with those of the city civic police and other volunteers, were deployed in strength near the big community pujas and busy intersections to ensure smooth flow of traffic.