Drum beats broke the dawn, the chanting mantras after yogna underneath Bel Tolla (wood apple) mark the Maha Sasthi, the beginning of annual four-day Durga Puja, from 26/9/2017 to 30/9/2017, Bengali''s famous festival kicked off this evening.
The celebrations formally started with ''Devi Bodhon'', a ritual to propitiate and welcome goddess Durga.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee wished people on Sasthi through a social networking site post.
The community pujas in the city number around 3,500 this year, while thousands more are observed in the towns and villages across West Bengal
From introducing a mobile application to installing CCTV cameras at strategic locations, putting up checkpoints and deploying sufficient number of male and female personnel, police have made elaborate security arrangements to ensure a peaceful Durga Puja.
Police said their major concern is to keep city life get going smoothly as they are expecting millions of people to hop Kolkata metropolitan area in next four nights. They expressed surprises that on Panchami day yesterday, lakh of people were out after sun set and hoping pandals sending traffic haywire till midnight. Other than police, NCC cadets, scouts, students and several NGOs has sought for support for managing crowds at pandals,. Like last year, information regarding traffic, the situation at pandals and those lost in crowd will be transmitted on the AIR FM channel.
Both the state police and Kolkata Police held a series of meetings and chalked out elaborate plans to avoid any sort of untoward incidents during Durga Puja.
Most of the city avenues have been barricated with bamboos and iron cages to enable the police to control the rush at peak hours, especially in the night.
Eastern, South Eastern, Metro Railways, state buses and trams have decided to run additional services during the puja days.
According to Hindu mythology, Goddess Durga, accompanied by her four children â€“ Ganesh, Kartik, Lakshmi and Saraswati â€“ descends on earth every year to visit her parents to fight evil. This is the occasion that the Puja celebrates. The festivities and prayers begin with the symbolic arrival of the goddess on earth on the sixth day of the first quarter of the moon and ends on Dashami or the tenth day.
Traditionally the priests infuse ''pran'' (life) on the ten-hand Goddess symbolically on this day. While the idols of the goddess were a huge attraction, so was the craftsmanship of the numerous marquees under which they were housed. The puja, besides being a religious festival, provides a common platform for people cutting across religious lines to immerse themselves in cultural activities. However, the puja rituals begin from Mahasaptami, which falls tomorrow.
Traditionally, every pandal has an idol of Goddess Durga depicting her as slaying the demon Mahishashur. She is shown astride a lion and wields an array of weapons in her ten arms. UNI BM SJC
-- (UNI) -- C-1-1-DL0212-1070431.Xml