Bengal celebrates Kali puja, Diwali sans fireworks

Community puja committee members light earthen lamps around 'Rangoli' during Kali Puja and Diwali festivals in Kolkata, Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020.   | Photo Credit: PTI

The ban on sale and use of fireworks this year saved the people of West Bengal from noise and pollution on the evening of Kali Puja and Diwali on Saturday, while ‘diyas’ (earthen lamps), candles and decorative electric lights illuminated houses creating the festive spirit.

Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee wished people on the two occasions.

Beautiful marquees, some resembling temples and famous buildings, came up in parks and on streets with idols of the deity of goddess Kali put up inside.

In deference to a Calcutta High Court order, no reveller was being allowed within a five-metre distance of the main entrance of a Kali puja pandal.

People lighted diyas and candles and switched on decorative electric lights as evening set in, but the sight and sound of fireworks were missing till late evening, unlike previous years.

The Calcutta High Court had last week banned the use and sale of firecrackers in West Bengal during Kali Puja, Diwali, Chhath and other pujas during this festive season to curb pollution amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The celebrations were low key in places such as Amherst Street and Janbazar in Kolkata, and Naihati, Barasat and Madhyamgram in North 24 Parganas districts where thousands of people come out on streets on this day for pandal hopping.

“We have kept the festivities to the bare minimum this year. The turnout is much smaller this time,” Basanto Roy, an organising committee member of Nabapally Shyama Puja Sarbojonin in Barasat, one of the big-budget pujas in the town, said.

An organiser of a Kali puja committee in Amherst Street area also said that they drastically scaled down the celebrations this year due to the COVID-19 situation and death of its live wire senior Congress leader Somen Mitra in July.

Devotees, however, thronged famous Kali temples such as Dakshineswar and Kalighat in the metropolis, and Tarapith in Birbhum district from the morning hours following COVID-19 safety protocols to offer puja to the goddess.

West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee worshipped the goddess at her Kalighat home with her family members including her nephew and party MP Abhishek Bandyopadhyay.

The CM, who has been organising the puja for many years at her residence, kept the celebrations low key this year due to the COVID-19 situation.

She wished the people of the state on the occasions of Kali Puja and Diwali.

“Heartiest greetings to all on the occasion of Kali Pujo and Deepavali. Please maintain physical distancing during festivities. Wear a mask, stay safe,” Banerjee tweeted.

Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar, who is now on a visit to Darjeeling hills, said in a Twitter post, “Greetings to all on the auspicious occasion #KaliPujo and #Deepavali.”

“May these grand festivals of happiness and light bring delight, peace and prosperity to each and every house, he said.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2021 6:36:57 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kolkata/bengal-celebrates-kali-puja-diwali-sans-fireworks/article33100795.ece

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