Goddess Durga idol adorned with diamonds worth Rs 10 Cr in Kolkata. (Press Trust of India)
Durga Puja, West Bengal's biggest festival began on Tuesday amidst rituals of 'Mahashasti' in which the Goddess is welcomed to her earthly abode.
Neighbourhoods woke up to the roll of 'dhak' (drums) under a clear autumn sky as priests invoked Goddess Durga and her celestial family to abide on earth and help good triumph over evil.
As the day advanced, people took to the streets and by dusk, tens of thousands of people were seen thronging to the community puja pandals known for their aesthetic construction and dazzling lighting.
In the metropolis, personnel of the Kolkata Police were on the roads in strength for crowd control and Metro Railway operated services with an increased frequency to cope with the Puja rush.
A number of organisations, including the Kolkata Municipal Corporation chose the day to confer awards on best Puja pandals. There are more than 3000 such pandals in and around the city.
The state tourism department, as also a number of private tour operators have lined up conducted tours of the city's traditional private pujas, while restaurants are offering special menu of 'authentic' Bengali cuisine during the festive season.
President Pranab Mukherjee took time off his busy schedule and arrived at Miriti village in Birbhum district to participate in Durga Puja at his ancestral home. He is scheduled to stay till Friday.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee extended greetings to the people of the state on the festival.