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Braving overcast skies and intermittent rains, lakhs of people hit the brightly illuminated streets in the city and elsewhere in West Bengal on Maha Saptami to see the exquisitely crafted idols of the goddess and her progeny.
The number of pandal hoppers looked bigger on Maha Saptami, officially the first day of the four-day fsetival, than on the previous two days when the marquees were opened in advance for the enthusiastic public.
Large crowds were seen near popular Puja pandals like Sribhumi Sporting Club, Santosh Mitra Square, College Square, Chetla Agrani, Ahiritola Sarbojonin, Kumortuli Sarbojonin, Hati Bagan Sarbojonin, Baghbazar Sarbojonin, Hindustan Park, Kashi Bose Lane, Mudiali Sarbojonin, 95 Pally, Jodhpur Park to name a few among the large number of big ticket pujas in the city.
The giant 'ekchala' traditional idol at Baghbazar Sarbojonin attracted lakhs of viewers and Kolkata police and club volunteers worked hard to prevent any stampede-like situation.
"As it rained in the morning we scampered to a shelter. But the rains soon went away and here we are back to pandal hopping. Pujas come only once in a year," said Sreyashi Banik, a young woman visiting Dumdum Park puja with her friends.
Pandal hopping was out of bounds for most in the last two years due to Covid restrictions.
A large number of devotees went to Belur Math, the global headquarters of Ramakrishna Math and Mission, on the other side of the Ganga in Howrah, where the Goddess is worshipped by its monks in a solemn atmosphere.
'Kala bou snan', the first ritual held on Maha Saptami in which a banana plant wrapped in a white saree with red border and considered the manifestation of the goddess herself, is given a bath in the Ganga or in other waterbodies were performed in both community and household pujas in the morning.
The pujas held by the erstwhile aristocrats of the city like those at Sovabazar Rajbari, Laha Bari (house), Pathuriaghata Rajbari and Sabarno Roy Chowdhury Bari, attracted huge crowds, including foreign tourists.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee wished people of the state on Mahashaptami.
"How wonderful it is to see scores of people taking part in festivities and immersing themselves in jubilation," she tweeted.
"May we continue to find joy in unity and collectivity. May we grow from strength to strength, enriched by the blessings of Devi Durga," she added.
(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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First Published: Sun, October 02 2022. 21:44 IST