Kolkata, Oct 5 : Durga Puja, Bengali's famous festival kicked off on Maha Sasthi day today.
The celebrations formally started with 'Devi Bodhon', a ritual to propitiate and welcome goddess Durga and her four children. 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.
According to Hindu mythology, 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.
However, the puja rituals begin from Mahasaptami, which falls on Monday.
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.
Eastern, South Eastern, Metro Railways and state buses have decided to run additional services during the puja days.
The four-day long festivity kicked off this evening.