Goddess Durga returns to her heavenly abode amidst tears

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Kolkata, Oct 21 (UNI) Five-day Durga Puja celebration with the Bengalis bidding a tearful adieu to the goddess and her children ended here today.

In accordance with the customs, the idols of Goddess Durga along with those of Lakshmi, Saraswati, Ganesha and Kartikeya - the four children of the Goddess - were immersed with much fanfare after the traditional ''sindoor khela'' (smearing the deities with vermilion) by the womenfolk.

Sweets were distributed as friends and relatives wished 'Shubho Bijoya' (Happy Bijoya Dasami) to each other.

Idols in some of the old households of north Kolkata, which observe the puja in the traditional way, were immersed early, while big budget community puja often choose to immerse the idols a day or two later.

The sprawling Babughat on the banks of the Ganges was teeming with a sea of humanity, who turned up to watch the grand immersion as chants of 'Balo Durga Mai Ki Jay' (Hail, mother Durga) rent the air.

Women shed inhibitions to join the men in dancing wildly to the beating of drums as the idols were immersed.

In all, 12,000 pujas were organised in West Bengal, including about 1,127 community pujas in Kolkata alone.

About 16,000 policemen had been deployed in the state to cope with the crowd and maintain security.

Durga Puja, the autumn carnival of the Bengalis, began with enthusiasm on Wednesday with West Bengal decking up with bright lights and giant marquees to greet a surge of humanity flocking to savour the best of Indian craftsmanship and culture.

UNI

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