Bijaya Dasami: Time to bid adieu to Durga
After five days of festivity, it is time for Kolkata to bid adieu to Goddess Durga on the Bijaya Dasami on Wednesday while the rest of India will celebrate the festival of 'Dussehra'.
Durga will leave her parental abode on earth and go back to her home in Kailash on this day as people here will start counting for another year to relive the moments of celebration once again.
While the enjoyment reached its crescendo on Mahanabami, an ambiance of melancholy takes over the city on the last day of Durga Puja.
The famous pujas in Kolkata like Suruchi Sangha, Shiv Mandir Durga Puja, Mohd. Ali Park, Bagbazar Sarbojonin Durga Puja, Mudiali Club Durga Puja, Barisha Club, continued to attract more and more devotees on the night of Mahanavami as well.
Long queues were spotted at popular pandals, restaurants and parking lots.
The tenth day of Durga Puja formally starts with special pujas, yagna and maha arti, followed by darpan bisarjan (ritually bidding adieu to Goddess Durga and her four children-Lakshmi, Saraswati, Kartik and Ganesha; although idol-immersion starts in the afternoon).
The rituals rounds off with Aparajita Puja (special worship for eternal victory).
As the day graduates, women, clad in red bordered white sarees, gather in pandals (marquees) across the city to bid farewell to the Goddess and her four children with vermilion and sweets. The ritual is called 'baron'.
The ambiance gets special when women folk smear each other with vermilion. It is popularly known as Sindur Khela (smearing of vermilion).
Sweets are distributed to mark the mood of festivity and the occasion.
The male of the species greet each other with warm embraces while the juniors of the family show respect to elder by bending down to touch their feet.
This is followed by the dramatic immersion ceremony of the idols.
People across West Bengal participate in long processions with drums and trumpets to accompany them while dancing their way to finally reach various banks of Ganga river for immersion.
The traffic is expected to jam the streets across the city as people will make sure that the wait till next year is set with sumptuous fuel and cheer loudly- 'Ashchhe Bochhor Abar Hobe' (next year, once again).
Meanwhile, India will also celebrate 'Dussehra' which marks the victory of Goddess Durga over such demons as Mahishasur.
It is a day when devotees worship Goddess Shakti.
Shakti represents strength, ability and courage. This day also celebrates the victory of Lord Rama over the demon king Ravana.
Indian President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice President Hamid Ansari and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh have greeted countrymen on the occasion of Dussehra.
In a message, the President said, "On the joyous occasion of Dussehra, I have great pleasure in extending warm greetings and good wishes to all my fellow citizens. This auspicious season is a time when the people of India re-enact our great epic - Ramayana and celebrate the triumph of truth and righteousness over evil forces."
"May this festival stimulate in all of us the determination to emulate the righteousness of the Maryada Purush, the loyalty of his brothers Bharath and Lakshmana, the virtues of Sita and the valour as well as humility of Hanuman," said Mukherjee.
In his message, Ansari conveyed his best wishes for peace, progress and prosperity for all citizens.
In his message, the Prime Minister said, that Bijaya Dashami celebrations are an inspiration to follow the path of righteousness.
May this Durga Puja and Dussehra bring peace, happiness and prosperity to all, the Prime Minister added.
In most of northern India and some parts of Maharashtra, Dasha-Hara is celebrated more in honour of Rama.
During these 10 days many plays and dramas based on Ramayana are performed.
These are called Ramlila. There are outdoor fairs and large parades with effigies of Ravana (a mythical king of ancient Sri Lanka), his brother Kumbhakarna and son Meghanad. The effigies are burnt on bonfires in the evening.
After Dasara, the hot summer ends, especially in north India. The onset of cold weather is believed to encourage infections.
The burning of the effigies, filled with firecrackers containing phosphorus, supposedly purifies the atmosphere, while the temples perform Chandi Homa or Durga Homa, with the same intent.
Vijaya Dashami is celebrated in various ways in different parts of south India.
Celebrations can take many forms, ranging from worshipping the goddess Chamundeshwari (Durga) to exhibiting colorful toys-, celebrated as Golu in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu from Navratri.
There is a legend related to the exhibition of toys that is known as "Bombe habba" in Karnataka, "Bommala Koluvu" in Andhra Pradesh and Golu or Kolu in Tamil Nadu.
Since the goddess Durga needed tremendous power, all other gods and goddesses transferred their power to her and they all stood still as statues.
To respect the self-sacrifice of these deities during the festival days, Hindus revere morities, which are small statues in the shape of particular gods and goddesses. Golu ends on Dasara.