Kolkata: The five-day Durga Puja festival came to an end today with the immersion of idols as the goddess left for her abode in Kailash at the end of her annual sojourn on earth.
Women held ‘sindoor khela’ ritual smearing vermilion on each other’s faces. They also offered sweets and prayers to Goddess Durga, who is regarded as the daughter, and her family, while the young swayed merrily to the rhythmic beats of ‘dhaks’ (drums).
People exchanged greetings with each other on the occasion of ‘Bijoya Dashami’.
Elaborate security arrangements have been drawn up by Kolkata Police to ensure safety and security and maintain peace and harmony during the immersion.
According to Kolkata Police, nearly 1,000 idols were immersed today till 6 PM without any untoward incident reported from anywhere.
As the time fixed for Dashami puja of the Goddess and her celestial family ended before noon, organisers of the majority household and many community pujas began immersion of idols at different ghats of the Hooghly and other rivers and water bodies throughout the state.
Most of the household Durga idols were immersed at the 18 identified ghats under Kolkata Police jurisdiction since noon amidst the chanting of “aasche bochchor abar hobe” (Pujas again next year).
Besides police, personnel from state civil defence, civic bodies, Kolkata Port Trust and River Traffic Police assisted in the immersion process while speed boats of Indian Navy kept a watch.
Out of big community pujas, only those of Deshapriya Park, Mudiali and Dakshin Kolkata Sarbojanin Puja have immersed their idols and the rest are slated for immersion on October 14. For the first time, 40 big budget community pujas would participate in a colourful immersion procession in the city, police officials said.
Calcutta High Court had earlier directed that immersion of household Durga Pujas could be held in West Bengal till 6 PM today. However, for community pujas the deadline for immersion was 4 PM as it is a day before Muharram.
“No immersion will be allowed tomorrow because of Muharram processions. The next immersion date is October 13 when it will be allowed from 4 PM till next day,” police said.