The millennium city dazzled in a spectacle of colourful ceremony as the denizens bid farewell to Goddess Durga after the five-day long festival drew to a close on Thursday. Lakhs of people, devotees and revellers, thronged the route taken by the Goddess in her culminating journey before the immersion at Devi Gada ghat.
By evening, more than 30 of the around 155 idols including that of Mrunmayee Durga and the Hara Parbati forms had been immersed in the Kathjodi river. While around 16 idols belonging to the traditional mandaps of Bengali community, individual household pujas and government institutions had been immersed on Dussehra itself, the rest were taken out in grand processions through the major thoroughfares en route to the immersion ghat on Thursday.
There was delay in commencement of the immersion procession by several puja mandaps due to which snarls were also witnessed at different places, particularly at Howrah Motor Square in the evening. The congregation of the idols of the different mandaps at a time led to a jam at the square for a couple of hours.
There was no report of any unpleasant event till late in the evening as police laid an elaborate security cover to ensure smooth conduct of the ceremony, which is traditionally volatile. A pleasant weather also aided the progress of the processions as the Puja Committee chieftains and members led their respective idols, bedecked in all the glory through the streets, accompanied by colourful dance, music.
The processions were taken out on the customary route through Ranihat, Mangalabag, Buxi Bazaar, Gourishankar Park through Purighat to the Devi Gada ghat for immersion.
The idols were taken out complete with their medhas (backdrops) with the tableaux, a makeshift vehicle, which were ornate with flowers and decorative lights. Making their way through the routes, they stopped at the puja mandaps along the path for greetings. “This tradition has been developed as a gesture of goodwill and for promoting harmony among the different communities in the city,” member of the College Square Puja Committee Amit Sahoo said.
The route also bore fair-like atmosphere with lakhs of visitors and revelers resorting to merry-making, feasting at the roadside stalls.
The immersion ceremony is expected to stretch well into Friday till the last of the idols is immersed.