Chants of ‘Jai Durga’ and ‘Bolo Durga Mai Ki Jai’ reverberated across the state with every city, small town and village joining in the fervor as the five-day festival got off to an electrifying start.
Festooned in lights and dotted with splendid marquees, the eastern metropolis welcomed its patron goddess on Monday with the beats of dhaak (drums) and aroma of incense.
Thousands of men, women and children, turned up in their best on the streets of Kolkata making rounds of different marquees.
In Kolkata, there are around 2,470 community pujas and 5,000 family pujas. Each year, organisers come up with innovative themes and try to better their previous attempts.
It now embraces those on the margins, and has truly become “glocal” – with both local and global elements – but at the same time the umbilical cord with heritage remains intact.
This year is special since the transgender community is observing its own version of the puja.
The transgender rights activist group Pratyay Gender Trust in collaboration with Udyami Yubak Brinda Durga Puja committee, a community organisation, has modelled their idol on the Ardhanarishwar or the composite androgynous form of Lord Shiva and his consort Parvati.
The five-day festival-that begins Octber 19 with Shahsthi, and the subsequent four days – Saptami, Ashtami, Navami and Dashami – translates into frenzied pandal-hopping (visiting marquees) in new clothes, meeting friends and family and stuffing oneself to the brim with traditional delicacies.