Kolkata, Oct 22 (IANS) Devotees thronged marquees and community pujas across West Bengal to participate in the last rounds of prayers and rituals with Mahanavami and Vijaya Dashami coinciding on Thursday, the last day of the Durga puja.
As per the almanac Vijaya Dashami – the last day of the puja – merged with Mahanavami this year, thereby shortening the usual five-day affair to a four-day celebration.
However, the majority of the idol immersions are scheduled to take place on Friday and Sunday due to Muharram falling on October 24.
Adhering to tradition, some household and community pujas will start for banks of the river Hooghly around late evening on Thursday for the immersion.
But revellers made the most of the last day.
Earlier in the day, people gathered at their community pujas to offer ‘pushpanjali’ or floral tributes for the Mahanavami (ninth lunar day) puja amid chantings of mantras in the name of the goddess.
The puja began after the end of Sandhi puja held at the confluence of Mahaashtami (eighth lunar day) and Mahanavami.
Later in the day, as part of the Vijaya Dashami observances, enthusiasts cutting across religious and age barriers indulged in adhunuchi naach’- dancing to the beat of the dhaak (drums) holding aloft earthen bowls laden with incense and camphor.
Celebrities like Jisshu Sengupta joined in, swaying to the dhaak rhythms.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee wished people on the occasion of Mahanavami through a Facebook post.
As per Hindu mythology, Goddess Durga killed Chando and Mundo, two asuras (demons) at the confluence (Sandhi) of Maha Ashtami and Mahanavami.
Goddess Durga was worshipped as the undefeated – and offered her favourite food items. This was followed by Maha Arati that concluded the puja rituals.
Vijaya Dashami, the culmination of Navratri, symbolises the triumph of good over evil. It celebrates the victory of goddess Durga over the demon Mahishashura who was defeated and slayed by Durga after a nine-night, ten-day long battle. Vijaya Dashami ends early morning on Friday.