Fervour heralds Durga Puja in Bengal

With the beating of drums and a surge of humanity flocking marquees since the morning despite warnings of thundershowers, the five-day Durga Puja, the biggest festival of the Bengalis, began in West Bengal on Sunday.

The festivities begin from Mahasashthi (the sixth day from the day after Mahalaya), when the priest unveils the goddess Durga during a puja known as bodhan.

This is followed by the three main days of Mahasaptami, Mahaastami and Mahanavami when the chanting of hymns, arati and anjali (floral offerings with chanting of hymns by men, women and children in new clothes) mark the rituals.

The fifth day of Bijoya Dasami, when the idols are immersed, marks the end of a carnival in West Bengal that goes beyond religions and communities.