KOLKATA: West Bengal today revelled in festive spirits as it celebrated the joy of oneness on the occasion of Poila Baishakh (the first day of the Bengali calendar), which marks the 'Nababarsho' or the Bengali new year.
Long queues of devotees are seen in front of the Kalighat and Dakshineshwar temple from late night.
Devotees offer puja to receive the blessings of the almighty in the new year.
The Bengali New Year begins at dawn, and the day is marked with wishing, greeting and seeking blessings from elders.
Several cultural programmes are hosted in different communities in Kolkata with singing, processions and fairs dominating them.
Women clad in white saris with red borders and men clad in dhuti and kurta take part in the processions (Prabhat Pheri) early in the morning to welcome the first day of the year.
This day being auspicious also witnesses the start of new businesses and new ventures.
The Mahurat is performed, marking the beginning of new ventures.
Traditionally, businesses start this day with a new ledger, clearing out the old debts.
The shops generally host a 'puja' and invite the customers to clear old debts.
To mark the day, the Bengali traders purchase new accounting book.
The accounting in the halkhata begins only after offering puja.
Mantras are chanted and "Hindu swastika" is drawn on the accounting book by the priests.
Long queues are also spotted in front of restaurants and other food joints in Kolkata.