That time of the year again,when Kolkata feels insanely alive.
Maa Durga has come to town, the city is on a hyper drive
with last minute shopping being finished on one side and
pandal construction + Goddess installations on the other.
Both spectacular. Both maddening.
Mahalaya is the day which heralds the beginning of the festival.
A day that every Bengali starts with the radio telecast of
A day when thousands of Hindus take a dip in Maa Ganga
and pay respect to the departed ancestors with food offerings - tarpan.
Here are some images from the ghats.
The priests play a very important role and wait at the steps
of the ghats, take each and every one up to the river,
chant prayers and guide the offering process.
The little boys and girls, some of who are probably not even very sure
what this is all about, just soak in the glory of the ambiance
and enjoy the dip in the waters!
Street musicians from rural Bengal play at the banks,
kirtans or devotional songs, mostly praising Lord Krishna.
A young priest who held hands and prayed for many that morning.
The beautiful green soil of the river came up to the banks
and before every offering is made, the priest puts a
little bit of the holy soil on the foreheads on the worshipers.
While the river banks woke up to offerings of tarpan,
the rest of the city witnessed the homecoming, literally,
huge idols of the Goddess being lifted and carried to
what will be her home for the next 10 days.
I am hoping to take and post puja photos from Kolkata
as a series, so stay tuned. Shubho Mahalaya and happy pujas to all.