People offer 'tarpan' on Mahalaya as Durga Puja festivities begin, CM extends greetings

People offer tarpan on Mahalaya as Durga Puja festivities begin, CM extends greetings

Kolkata: Thousands of people offered "tarpan" on the auspicious Mahalaya across Bengal on Wednesday, marking the beginning of Durga Puja festivities and end of 'Pitri Paksha'.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee greeting the people on the ocassion said the countdown has begun for the start of the festivities. "The auspicious occasion of Mahalaya marks the beginning of the much-awaited festive season. The countdown has begun! I extend my heartiest greetings and best wishes to all. Shubho Mahalaya," she tweeted.

The day started with people paying obeisance to their forefathers on the banks of Hooghly, other rivers and water bodies across the state maintaining pandemic protocols. The early morning rendition of 'Mahishasur Mardini'—a collection of shlokas and songs dedicated to Goddess Durga—was aired on the All India Radio (AIR), marking the beginning of the festive season. 'Mahishasur Mardini' was first broadcast as a live programme on AIR in the early 1930s. Since then it has become a Mahalaya morning "ritual".

River traffic police kept a strict vigil along the various ghats of Hooghly to prevent any untoward incident. Tarpan was not allowed at the ghats adjacent to Belur Math and Dakshineswar temple.

Adequate security measures have been taken at the 18 ghats in Kolkata where devotees are offering "tarpan", officials said.

Senior officers of Kolkata Police have been posted at the ghats while civic police volunteers were deployed to manage social distancing. Vehicular movements on the roads around the ghats were also restricted, police said.

On Mahalaya, the sculptors usually draw the eyes of Goddess Durga, a ritual known as "Chokhhu Daan". This year, 'Sasthi' is on October 11 -- the first day of the celebrations.

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