Teary-eyed devotees bade an emotional farewell, as idols of goddess Durga and her children were immersed on Tuesday in lakes, and rivers and ponds of West Bengal on Vijaya Dashami, bringing to an end five days of revelry and celebration associated with eastern India’s biggest festival.
However, as decreed by the state government and the court, idols worshipped in the households or apartment complexes were to be immersed till a deadline of 6 p.m. Four household pujas were given extension till 8.30 p.m.
But reports from the 17 ghats (each having a set of stairs leading to the river) on the banks of the Hooghly said lot of idols were in the queue for the immersion even at 8 p.m.
The idols of community pujas would be immersed from Thursday. The government has decided not to allow any immersion on Wednesday on account of Muharram.
There was a festive look on the banks of the Ganga and other water bodies. With drums playing the immersion beats “Thakur thakbe kotokshon, thakur jabe bisarjan (How long will the goddess stay on earth, She will now be immersed)”, children, young and the old joined hands to slowly put the idols into the water.
At Babughat, one of the prominent immersion banks in Kolkata, the rituals picked up pace from around 3 p.m. With the large scale community puja organisers opting to immerse their idols after Moharram, mostly idols of household and apartment complex puja were immersed here on Tuesday.
“We are feeling a bit sorry as today is Dashami. Durga Puja is the time for reunion and merriment for our entire complex. We all get together and enjoy for these four days,” said Debasis Sarkar, one of the organisers of Sahana Association Puja Committee of Rajdanga.
Sad at the festival getting over for the year, there was some consolation from the loud cries of “asche bochor abar hobe (See you next year)”.
A salient feature at Babughat was the alacrity with which the premise was being promptly cleaned by the 20 KMC workers after each idol was placed in the river. The flowers and debris are washed away and the structures removed to prevent river pollution.
“We are working to keep the river clean. Separate space has been created to dump the flowers and other puja materials. The idol structures will be removed by tomorrow during the time of low tide,” said Sahahjahan, a KMC worker busy removing the earthen lamps from the river bank.
A check-in competition was seen at the Babughhat premises.
Social media portal like Facebook and Instagram went into a tizzy as the young brigade from mostly residential apartments flashed out their selfie sticks and were seen glued to their smart phones announcing their presence before anyone else on arrival to the ghat.
“There is a lot of competition among para (locality) pujas. So we thought of outshinig Athe others by checking in first and posting selfies. This is for fun as we are hooked to social media,” said Sanju, a 19-year-old devotee.
#BijoyaDashami trended heavily on Twitter all through the afternoon along with #Dussehra as posts flooded notifications of one and all.
Facebook’s new Live video facility were also used to the optimum as many were seen filming the entire immersion ceremony and huddling in groups to see the comments.
With Mahanavami over, it was now time for the goddess to return to her husband Lord Shiva at their heavenly abode in Mount Kailash after the annual sojourn to her paternal home.
Tight security arrangements were made at the rivebanks and launches were kept ready to rescue people in case of emergencies, police said.
The Dashami rituals in the morning saw married women preparing the goddess and her children for their long journey back home by smearing the deities and each other with red vermilion.
They also offered sweets to the god, and prayed for the well-being of their families and long lives of their husbands while performing these rituals.
There were long queues before sweet shops as people started visiting relatives and friends to wish each other “Shubho Bijoya (Happy Vijaya Dashami)”.