The grand festival of five-day Sharadiyo Durga Puja ended on Tuesday (Oct 24) night with celebrations of Sindur Khela in day time, immersion of idols in the evening at nearby rivers or ponds and exchanging Bijaya greetings among devotees across the country. Temples across the country including Dhakeshwari National temple, Ramna Kali Temple, Siddheswari Kalimandir saw massive gathering of female devotees clad in colorful dresses including white saree with red borders and they are performing Sindur khela, a significant part of Bijoya Dashamicelebrations. Males also join this ritual with giving colors to faces of other devotees or participants. Sindur Khela, literally meaning 'vermillion game', is a Hindu tradition of East India and Bangladesh where women smear each other with sindur on Bijaya Dashami, the last day of the Durga Puja, local media reported.
After the conclusion of the ritual worship, married Hindu women applied sindur on the forehead and feet of the goddess and offered sweets to her. Then they put sindur on each other's faces and offered sweets to each other.
In the morning, Dashami Puja was offered at temples and makeshift mandaps while Darpan Bisarjan will also be held before immersion of idols.
Darpan Bisarjan ceremony conducted on Bijaya Dashami day is the "real immersion" as it is beloved that the divinity that had been breathed into the Devi idol at installation, slowly leaves the idol.
After the ritual, colourful processions to the riverside followed by Bisarjan or Niranjan of Devi idols are a spectacle to enjoy, he added.
Marking Dashami, colorful processions were brought out from temples and makeshift puja mandaps and later Devi idols were immersed in nearby rivers, ponds or water-bodies.
Bijaya Dashami is a bittersweet day as goddess Durga and her children are taken out of their earthly abode or the pandal for Bisarjan or immersion in the river.
This indicates her return to Mount Kailash. Devotees often shout "Aschhe bochhor abar hobe" (Durga Puja will return the next year again).
In the past, the idols were carried on bamboo structures. However, nowadays the idols are transported in trucks or pickup vans to riverbanks and then they are placed in a boat and taken to the middle of the river for immersion.
After immersion of idols, young members of the family touch the feet of the elders to seek blessings. Some hugged each other (kolakuli). Sweets such as Chomchom, Kalojam, Sandesh, Narkeler Naru (mounds made of coconut and jaggery) were distributed.
In Dhaka, the main Puja Mandaps were at Dhakeshwari National Temple, Ramkrishna Mission and Math, Kalabagan, Banani, Shakhari Bazar and Ramna Kali Mandir.
In major divisional cities including port city Chattogram, Narayanganj, Rajshahi, Khulna and Sylhet and district towns including Faridpur, Dinajpur, Jashore, Kushtia, Netrakona, Tangail, Satkhira also witnessed massivecelebration of Durga Puja.
On Monday, Maha Nabami, the fourth-day of Sharadiya Durga Puja, was celebrated with offering Puja, Anjali, daily bhog, sacrificing vegetables and fruits and dhunuchi nach (dance competition).
Temples and makeshift pandals saw massive gathering of devotees and visitors as Nabami is the last night of Sharadiyo Navaratri or Sharadiya Durgotsab.
Navami Puja typically follows a specific sequence, involving the recitation of mantras and the offering of various items, such as fruits, sweets, incense and lamps.
On Sunday, Maha Ashtami, the third day of five-day Sharadiyo Durga Puja, was celebrated amid different rituals including offering of Anjali, Kumari and Sandhi Puja at temples since morning. In the morning, Goddess Durga was offered Puja followed by offering anjali by devotees and distribution of prashad among them at temples and makeshift pandals across the country including the capital.
Kumari Puja was held in some traditional temples in Dhaka, Chattogram and other parts of the city.
On Saturday, Maha Saptami, the second day of the five-day Sharadiya Durga Puja, was celebrated in befitting manner as temples and makeshift mandaps witnessed huge devotees and visitors while beautifully crafted idols of Goddess Durga was installed formally on the first day of Maha Shasthi on Friday.
Temples and mandaps were illuminated and decorated gorgeously marking the puja as some puja pandals were portrayed in different themes signifying different aspects of life and religious stories.
Bangalee Hindus might have a plethora of festivals (Baaro Maaashe Tero Parbon or 13 festivals in 12 months) but Sharadiya Durgotsab remains the largest.
Durga Puja is being celebrated at 32,408 mandaps across the country this year including 245 in the capital, according to Bangladesh Puja Udjapan Parishad (BPUP).
BPUP General Secretary Prof Chandranath Poddar said the country saw Durga Puja celebration at 32,168 mandaps including 241 in the capital last year.
Stringent security measures were ensured across the country during the celebration of Durga Puja to avert any untoward situation.