With the setting sun, the clay lamps, candle lights and streams of tiny lights lit up the households across the state with thousands of people visiting the Kalighat and Dakshineswar Kali temples to offer their prayers to Goddess Kali.
Highrise buildings across that city which lit up with tiny lights also added to the beauty of the city. Though, Durga Puja is the biggest festival in West Bengal, Kali Puja celebrations do not fall too far behind.
There were long queues seen at Tarapith temple and Nalhati in Birbhum as well as in Adyapith, where thousands of pilgrims converged to seek the blessings of the goddess. People started coming in Karunamoyee Kali Temple in Tollygunge from early morning.
Children helped their parents put up decorations in their homes. Various crackers - torches, sparklers, flowerpots, and rockets were cheered on by the puja revellers as they burst into colourful sparks into the night sky.
City doctors advised the people on how to prevent firecrackers-related injuries and other health hazards. A senior consultant for plastic surgery of a hospital in the city advised against wearing synthetic garments, and keeping a bucket of water handy. Cultural programmes were organised, and people thronged community pandals dressed in their best ethnic wear.
Apart from community pandals, Kali Puja was also performed at various households. Family members pitched in to arrange items for the rituals and the prasad.
The festivities have kept the city administration on its toes. Both the Kolkata police and state police have brilliantly managed the traffic situation in the city and districts. The Pollution Control Board has banned crackers emitting over 90 decibel of sound to control noise pollution.
In the afternoon Arati was performed before the Goddess Kali in Dakshineswar. Bhog was then offered to the goddess. People in large number also gathered at Thonthonia Kali Bari, Firingi Kali Bari to offer their puja in the old temples.
Among the big pujas across the state, Barasat, the administrative headquarter of North 24 Parganas deserves a mention. Kali Puja is celebrated in Barasat with pomp and grandeur since a long time and the puja pandals here attract thousands of visitors from across the state.
The most famous ones are KNC Regiment, Nabapally Sarbojanin and Pioneer Athletic Club, Sandhani. Puja revellers started hitting the road to see the famous puja pandals from Saturday afternoon itself. The many famous pujas in the city and in surrounding areas include Tollygunge Kalayan Sangha, Baishnabghata Udayan Sangha, Kalighat Natun Sangha, Ajadgar Friends’ Staff and Bijoygar Agragami.
Like in previous years, Kali Puja was also held at the residence of Chief Minister Manerjee. Many important personalities, officials and other dignitaries attended the Puja and met her to exchange greetings.
Stating that the festivals display colours of humanity, culture and civilisation, Banerjee in a message earlier had urged all to maintain communal harmony especially during the festive days of Diwali and Kali puja.
Many community pujas at Barasat and Naihati in North 24 Parganas attracted large crowds. Fire and Emergency Services minister Sovan Chatterjee said all arrangements have been made by his department to prevent any untoward incidents.
“So far the celebration is peaceful and without any incident,” Chatterjee said.
Pollution Control Board takes steps to curb noise pollution
With an aim to stop crackers bursting, the West Bengal Pollution Control Board has taken up various security measures across the state.
The board has been conducting a strong vigil so that sound pollution level in the city can be checked. Kali Puja was observed in various parts of the State at temples and at community pujas. The Board has set up various mobile monitoring teams that were deployed in the city and its adjoining areas to ensure that bursting of firecrackers do not exceed the permissible limit in the day of the festival.
Control rooms were set up in its central office and also in the regional offices so that people can register complaints in case the norms are violated. An unmanned aerial vehicle will also be engaged to check the incidents of bursting firecrackers.
According to a senior official of the state pollution control board, the maximum noise level for bursting fire crackers in Bengal continues to remain 90 decibel at a distance of five meters. The Board has banned various crackers that were found to be exceeding this limit.
The Board has instructed the surveillance team to keep an eye on the multi-storeyed buildings. On the occasion of Kali Puja around 11 such teams were deployed to check bursting of firecrackers throughout the city.
If the Board feel the need, it may engage some more teams on the job. Both the Kolkata police and Bidhannagar Police carried out vigils. Senior officials of the Pollution Control Board and the police officers had held meeting to chalk out strategies on how to check such incidents.
Apart from deploying additional forces on roads and check points for vehicles, the city police put in place a new surveillance system for keeping an eye on important locations in the city with the help of high definition cameras.
Quick Response Team, Heavy Radio Flying Squad, RT vans were deployed at various points. Police pickets were also set up at various places.