Amid chanting of hymns and a plethora of glimmering fireworks, West Bengal celebrated Kali Puja on Tuesday with pomp and religious fervour.
Kali Puja is held on the new moon day of the month of Kartik in the Bengali calendar.
Tens of thousands of devotees visited Kalighat and Dakhineswar Kali temples since Tuesday morning to offer prayers to the goddess on the auspicious day.
Lakhs of people stood in long queues at the Tarapith temple near Birbhum district's Rampurhat to seek blessings of the goddess, considered a form of goddess Durga.
The puja rituals would begin continue well past midnight, according to the almanac.
A day ahead of Deepavali, Bengal celebrated Kali Puja with fireworks. A huge array of crackers — torches, sparklers, flowerpots, rockets — spread cheer among revellers as they burst into colourful sparks against the night sky.
Nattily dressed people of all ages thronged hundreds of community marquees in the city and the districts where the goddess was worshipped.
Apart from community pandals, Kali Puja is also performed in residences. According to old texts, Kali Puja was introduced in Bengal during the 18th century by King Krishnachandra of Navadvipa.
The puja is also held in various Hindu crematoria. Security has been beefed up in and around the city to avoid any untoward incident.
Girls and women showcased their artistic skills through variety of colourful Rangolis (folk art patterns created on the floor using coloured rice, flour, coloured sand and flower petals).
Cultural programmes were organised, and people thronged community pandals (marquees) dressed in their best ethnic wear.