Festive fervour in Bengal as Kali Puja-Diwali coincidetext_fields
Kolkata: West Bengal on Sunday plunged into gaiety and religious fervour holding simultaneous Diwali and Kali Puja celebrations.
With Diwali and Kali Puja falling on the same day, the "twin dhamakas" came as a befitting sequel to the Durga Puja celebrations - the biggest festival in this part of the world - earlier this month.
Over the years, Kali Puja celebrations have risen to dizzy heights in the city and the districts. A large number of fresh marquees (pandals) have sprung up while in many areas, the Durga Puja pandals were not dismantled, and instead decked up again to serve Goddess Kali.
People across the state exchanged sweets and savouries with friends, neighbours and relatives. The festival saw the mingling of a sizeable population of non-Bengali communities (Marwaris, Gujaratis, Biharis) and Bengalis across the state to celebrate Diwali.
Thousands visited Kalighat and Dakshineswar Kali temples since morning.
Long queues were seen at Tarapith temple near Rampurhat in Birbhum distric, where lakhs converged to pray to the goddess.
South Indian community's "kolam" (rangoli with interconnecting dots and flowery patterns), "alpana" (traditional patterns) of the Bengalis and the multihued powdered "rangoli" designs of the north Indians stole many hearts.
Ululations (high pitched vocal sounds) and peals of bells resonated across temples and residences observing Kali Puja, adding to the festive spirit.
People hit the streets in their best ethnic wear making way through various marquees and stopping for a bite.
An array of crackers - torches, sparklers, flowerpots, rockets - spread cheer among revellers as they burst into colourful sparks against the night sky.
Authorities have banned sale and use of crackers emitting over 90 decibels sound to control noise pollution.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee greeted people on Kali Puja and Diwali.
Elaborate security has been put in place for the day when more than 3,500 community pujas are being held across the state.