KOLKATA: Ignoring occasional heavy rain, puja revellers today on Maha Navami, the penultimate day of the four-day Durga Puja festival, jammed the streets leading to the city's well-known puja pandals to keep the puja spirit on.
Putting on their newly-acquired dresses, thousands of people hit the streets hours before the desk fell as the police had a tough time manning the multitude. The police set up makeshift bamboo barricades on the road sides to manage the surge, especially in front of the well-known Puja pandals. The scene is repeated in the district towns where Durga Puja is being celebrated with Kolkata-style grandeur and razzmatazz for the last few years.
The main puja for Maha Navami, or ninth lunar day, began after the end of "Sandhi Puja" held at the confluence of Maha Ashtami (eighth lunar day) and Maha Navami at around Monday-Tuesday midnight. Many people visited friends and relatives and indulged in light-hearted chats, before partaking 'bhog' (community feasts of food items offered to the Goddess first), which comprised a wide-range of food items from 'luchis' (as 'puris' are called in Bengal) to 'khichuri', vegetable items, to fish and even mutton.
More than 2,500 community puja organisers in Kolkata erected massive and beautifully-decorated marquees showcasing creative excellence. According to the Met department, occasional heavy rain or thundershower is likely to occur at most places over Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri, Alipurduar, Coochbehar districts of sub-Himalayan West Bengal including at many places over Gangetic West Bengal today.
Considered to be oldest community puja in the city with 89 years of celebration, Bagbazar Sarbojanin offered Kumari puja. Kumari puja is common on Maha Astami but following their old tradition ritual Bagbazaar Sarbojonin offers Kumari puja on three days of the festival - Maha Saptami, Maha Astami and Maha Navami, a puja committee official said. Eateries, whether star-rated or roadside, did a good business as people, mainly youngsters, thronged them to have their food of choice, ranging from Chinese, Thai to Tandoori or Bengali cuisine.