Durga Puja celebrated with great fervour in West Bengal

Kolkata, Oct.16 (ANI): People in West Bengal celebrated 'Durga Puja' with deep fervour and traditional rituals on Saturday, as people in different parts of the country today marked Mahanavami, the last day of five-day Durga Puja festival.

Special prayers and traditional rituals were performed on the occasion.

A large number of ardent devotees worshipped goddess Durga in makeshift temples and wished well-being of their family, loved ones and prosperity in their lives.

Various traditional rituals are performed to mark this day.

"These rituals are performed as the Goddess destroyed demon King Ravana. So people come here and worship the goddess on the auspicious occasion," said Baidyanatah Chakrabarty, a priest.

Durga Puja is the most popular festival in West Bengal and other northeastern states.

Heavily garlanded and decorated idols of Goddess Durga are worshipped for five days under large marquees that are thronged by thousands.

The idols are later taken out in a grand procession for immersion in the nearest water bodies.

During Durga Puja, Kolkata looks illuminated by evening with innumerous Puja Pandals or, makeshift temples decorated with special lights and visited by a large number of devotees with families.

Various organisers illuminate their Durga Puja pandals with theme-based decorative lighting.

On Friday, it was Maha Ashtami which is the third day of Durga Puja.The devotees gathered at the Puja stalls to offer 'Anjali' to the goddess.

Devotees after taking a bath, wear new clothes and offer 'Anjali' to the Goddess in the morning.

"The day is considered significant as goddess Durga killed the demon Mahishasur during the last 24 minutes of Mahaashtami and during first 24 minutes of Nabami. People offer 'anjali' to pray the goddess to kill the sense of pride among us," said Gaurinath Bhattacharya, a priest.

Men and women fast in the morning till 'Anjali' ritual is completed. ven though this ritual is performed on other days too, the 'Anjali' on Maha Ashtami holds special significance.

Durga Puja is widely celebrated in West Bengal, Assam, Jharkhand, Orissa and Tripura for five days. However, in West Bengal and Tripura, where majority of the population is of Bengali Hindus, it is marked as the biggest festival of the year. By Sankha Ghose (ANI)

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