Emotional devotees paid a teary-eyed farewell, as idols of goddess Durga and her children were immersed in rivers, lakes, ponds and other waterbodies across West Bengal, marking the end of eastern india’s biggest socio-religious carnival on Tuesday.
The banks of the Ganga and other water bodies wore a festive look as people from all walks of life joined in the colourful immersion processions, to the accompaniment of ‘dhak’ (drums), band parties as also music played by DJs.
A huge security cordon was thrown around Babughat in central Kolkata, where there was a steady stream of community puja immersions from the afternoon. A large number of people, even from abroad, assembled in Babughat, soaking in the festive spirit, as they danced all the way to the ghat.
Thousands of devotees, cutting across all ages and social barriers, joined hands in gently lowering the idols into the river, consoling themselves with recurrent shouts of “asche bochor abar hobe” (see you next year).
Earlierin the day, the marquees saw married women, decked up in ritualistic red-and-white sarees, participate in the customary ‘sindoor khela’ (smearing each other with red vermillion) as they prepared Goddess Durga and her four children — Lakshmi, Saraswati, Ganesha and Kartik – for their return to their heavenly abode in Mount Kailash.
The immersion ceremony symbolises the end of the Goddess’s annual sojourn to her paternal home and she returns to her husband Lord Shiva in Mount Kailash.
Officers of the Kolkata Police manned the riverfront to prevent onlookers from getting too close to the river.
Cranes were deployed at some of the ghats to lift and extricate the remains of idols from the river to avoid pollution. Additional lights have been put up at the immersion ghats.
Other than maintaining law and order during immersion, the teams of river police and disaster management groups patrolled the river. CCTVs were installed at certain ghats, a senior police officer said.
There were long queues outside sweet shops as people started visiting relatives and friends.