Kolkata, Oct 9: It's shopping time for devotees in festival-crazed Kolkata ahead of Durga Puja, which is scheduled to start from October 18. For Bengalis, the nine-day festival is a time for celebration and expenditure.
Markets reflect the festive spirit enveloping the entire city. "Everybody purchases according to their needs. There is a rush. I have bought clothes and other necessities for the puja," said Purnima Banerjee.
Multinationals use the opportunity to offer discounts and sponsor community pujas. They dole out gifts, organize lucky draws, and even professional music and dance shows.
Many, however, agree that the real spirit lies in the small markets.
“We are doing good business these days," claimed Aftab Alam, a shopkeeper.
Durga Puja preparations begin months in advance. Organisers attempt to come up with new themes for Pandals and secure the services of professional artists for the purpose.
Idols are on display in Pandals and they are immersed on the last day of the nine-day festival. Prayers, processions and musical programmes mark the festival, which symbolises the triumph of good over evil.
Durga is depicted as a warrior woman riding a lion or a tiger with multiple hands carrying weapons and assuming mudras, or symbolic hand gestures. This form of the Goddess is the embodiment of feminine and creative energy (Shakti).
It is said that the goddess makes her annual visit to the world during this time and the festivities are meant to welcome her.