National

Bengalis bid adieu to this year's Durga Pooja with Sindoor Khela

Kolkata : The city of Kolkata on this day of Maha Dashami prepares to bid farewell to Goddess Durga for one long year as she leaves for Kailash - her husband's abode. The sentiment of sadness is evident from the calm prevailing within the city after Dashami's Pooja gets over along with 'Ghot Bisharjon'. However, the evening witnesses another and probably the last round of celebrations in the five-day-long festival as women dressed in white and red-bordered sarees apply vermilion or 'Sindoor' on the forehead and feet of the Goddess and feed her sweets and betel leaves or 'paan', right before the immersion of the idol. During this, the women also indulge in 'Sindoor Khela' where they playfully smear 'Sindoor' on one another and offer sweets praying for the wellness and prosperity of each other.
The age-old tradition only saw married women taking part in it, however, of late, several Pooja committees have also started inviting widows, unmarried women, the third gender and even sex workers to indulge in the mirth and merry of the occasion, giving them a chance to do 'Devi Baran' or bid farewell to Goddess Durga.
The quiet on the last day of the festival, Dashami, brings out the sentiments and the emotions attached with Durga Pooja, and how an entire city dreads the end of the festivity that comes along with the Pooja. In the evening of Dashami, after 'Sindoor Khela', preparations start for the immersion of the idol of the Goddess.
The idol of the Goddess is then placed on a carriage or a truck and taken to the immersion site, which is Babughat for most of the eminent Pooja committees in the city. The procession to the immersion 'ghat' (river bank) is also an elaborate process and an attraction for many, where the city bids farewell to the Goddess along with a spectacular arrangement of lights and with the tune of the 'Dhaak'. The idol is accompanied by the youth who indulge in playful singing and dancing on the way to the banks of the river where the idol of the Goddess will be immersed. Many Pooja committees also arrange elaborate processions for the occasion.
As the idol is immersed, another round of wait begins for the most anticipated festival in West Bengal and especially for Bengalis. Durga Pooja not only brings along with it the traditions and rituals, but also a sense of an all-embracing festivity and spectacle that entices the entire city and its people so much that the feeling of sadness takes a few days to fade even after the celebrations are over for a year. 

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