Bengal celebrates Kali Puja with devotion

Kolkata, (IANS) Decorating their homes with electric light bulbs and colorful earthen lamps, people of West Bengal on Tuesday marked Kali Puja celebrations with devotion and religious fervor.
Since morning, the famous Kali temples at Kalighat, Dakhineswar and other marquess drew a sea of devotees who offered prayers to the goddess on the auspicious day.
Kali Puja is held on the new moon day of the month of Kartik in the Bengali calendar.
This year the puja rituals started from Tuesday morning.
As per tradition, people of all ages celebrated Kali puja with permitted fireworks a day ahead of Diwali.
Over the years, Kali Puja celebrations have been scaled up to match the lingering festive atmosphere post Durga Puja, the biggest festival in West Bengal.
Fresh marquees (pandals) across the city have sprung up while several community pujas refrained from dismantling the Durga Puja pandals, decking them up again to serve Goddess Kali.
Apart from community pandals, Kali puja is also performed in houses. Family members pitched in to arrange items for the rituals and the prasad (food offering to the deity).
The puja is also held in various Hindu crematoria.
A countless number of devotees stood in long queues at the Tarapith temple near Birbhum district’s Rampurhat to seek blessings of the goddess considered a form of goddess Durga.
Ululations (high pitched vocal sounds) and peals of bells resonated across temples and residences observing Kali Puja, adding to the festive spirit.
People hit the streets in their best ethnic wears, making their way to various marquees and stopping for a bite.
An array of crackers — torches, sparklers, flowerpots, rockets — spread cheer among revelers as they burst into colorful sparks against the night sky.
Kolkata Police have issued dos and don’ts regarding the timings and bursting of firecrackers as per order of the Supreme Court and Pollution Control Board. One can burst permissible crackers from 8-10 pm.
This year Kolkata Police have imposed a ban on sky lanterns in an eight-km radius around Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee greeted everyone on the occasion of Kali Puja. She inaugurated a Skywalk connecting the Dakshineswar Railway Station to the famed Dakshineswar Kali temple on Monday.
According to old texts, Kali Puja was introduced in Bengal during the 18th century by King Krishnachandra of Nabadwip in Nadia district.

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