The five-day Durga Puja celebrations across the country ended with Vijaya Dashami today. Unlike most years, immersion or visarjan of Goddess Durga took place without the usual fervour and a different kind of emotion played out. In pictures from across the country, there were more empty pandals, masked faces and solemn look under face shields. At a few pandals in Kolkata, women were seen in PPE kits for boron (bidding the goddess farewell) and sindur khela. The colourful processions, which usually marks visarjan were missing from the city of joy.
Dressed in traditional red bordered sarees with face masks, devotees tried to maintain safe distance and touched the feet of Maa Durga amid demure chants of "asche bochor abar hobe'' (till next year). The traditional sindur khela where married women put vermilion on each other was mostly restricted to few local residents and organizers at the pandals.
According to the Kolkata Police sources, adequate arrangements were made to ensure the visarjan ceremony was peaceful and Covid-19 guidelines were maintained at the immersion ghats. The city civic body personnel and Kolkata Port Trust officers were present at the venue to monitor the situation. Most puja committees allowed minimum members to accompany the goddess to the ghats for the immersion rituals.
Cranes atop boats were seen at some locations along the Ganges River to clear the flowers and remains of the idols to avoid water pollution. The carnival at Red Road, where big organizers showcased their Durga deities before immersion was cancelled due to the pandemic.