The long weekend on the back of last week's Puja holiday has now sparked a 3-km long tailback at Goalondo’s Daulatdia ferry terminal on Sunday evening, as hundreds of vehicles with holidaymakers kept waiting to cross the river on their way back home. The long line of slow-moving vehicles crossed Daulatdia canal ghat area on Dhaka-Khulna highway, as some of the passengers complained about being stuck for more than three hours in the afternoon. The pressure of Dhaka-bound vehicles at Daulatdia point was compounded from Sunday noon with the addition of a large number of Muslim devotees heading toward Faridpur’s Atrashi Darbar Sharif for Eid-e-Miladunnabi, said Firoz Ahmmed, terminal supervisor of Lalon Paribahan bus service from Kushtia. Many of the passengers told the UNB reporter they were heading towards Dhaka to join their workstations after the Durga Puja Holiday. Alamin Sheikh, a bus passenger returning to Atroshi from Faridpur, said that he was a part of a team loaded in three buses from Gazipur on Saturday night to observe Eid Miladunnabi at Atorshi. Read: 35 km tailback on Dhaka-Chattogram highway after road accident “I started to return to Gazipur at Sunday noon and remained stuck here since then,” he said. At least 180 such vehicles returning from Atroshi also remained stuck in the long traffic. There are 16 small and big ferries on the Daulatdia-Paturia route but only 10 of them are operational and rest are kept in the floating factory at Paturia as there was a lack of traffic after inauguration of Padma Bridge, said Md. Salah Uddin, Daulatdia office manager, Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) Amid the increased pressure of vehicles due to holiday and Eid-e-Miladunnabi from Sunday afternoon, we may make all the 16 ferries operational if necessary, he said.
Durga Puja, the biggest festival of Bengali Hindus, has come to an end on Wednesday with the immersion of Goddess Durga’s idols across the country amid tight security. According to Hindu belief, the goddess Durga has returned to her husband's house at Kailash in Devaloy (heaven) through immersion. In the capital, thousands of people thronged the Buriganga River in the city’s Bosila area today to observe the final phase of the festival -- immersion of the goddess. Hindu devotees from different parts of the city came to the ghat in trucks carrying idols while singing hymns to Durga with the sounds of musical instruments such as ‘Shankha’, ‘Khol’, ‘Dhak’. Devotees were seen bidding farewell to the mother deity and her children – Lakshmi, Saraswati, Kartik and Ganesh – through the immersion of their idols, wishing Durga’s return next year. In the port city, idol immersion was held at Patenga Sea Beach, Karnaphuli River, Firingi Bazar and Salimpur Beach area at Kalurghat and Sitakunda. Read: Kolkata artists paint, mold idols for Durga Puja Durga Puja celebrations have been organised at 282 places in the Chattogram metropolitan area. Besides, the leaders of Chattogram Puja Udjapon Parishad said Durga Puja has been celebrated in 15 upazilas of the district in a total of 2,062 mandaps. Visitors have been thronging Puja mandaps to celebrate Bijoya Dashami, the last day of the festival, recite the mantras, offer flowers to the goddess Durga and pray for her blessings since morning. On Bijoya Dashami, Hindu families visit each other. As part of the main rituals of Dashami Puja celebrations, female devotees offered vermilion at the feet of Durga at mandaps and temples across the city, which is part of the traditional ‘Shidur Khela’. The ritual follows Hindu women putting vermilion on each other, wishing for prosperity in lives, as a tribute to the power of Goddess Durga. Also read: No security lapses for Durga Puja: Rab DG
Spirits are soaring in India’s “City of Joy” as tens of thousands of people jostle on Kolkata’s streets in celebration of “Durga Puja,” the most important festival of the Bengali community. The five-day festival that began Saturday is marked by prayers to the Hindu goddess Durga, feasts, rejoicing, music, dance and drama marking the victory of good over evil. People visit richly illuminated and decorated community centers with idols of Durga and other goddesses worshipped by the Bengali community. This year’s Durga Puja in West Bengal state in eastern India comes after two years of pandemic curbs on large gatherings and follows UNESCO’s recognition of Kolkata’s festival as part of the “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.”
Durga puja, the largest religious festival of the minority Hindus, will culminate in Bangladesh, with the immersion of idols on Wednesday evening. On the last day of the puja, devotees are thronging mandaps in Dhaka and elsewhere across the country for Bijoya Dashami, the last day of the grand festival, to celebrate the triumph of the Goddess Durga over the buffalo demon Mahishasura. On this day, families visit each other and exchange sweetmeat. Married Hindu women put vermilion on each other's forehead on the occasion. In Bangladesh this year, the religious festival is being celebrated at some 32,168 puja mandaps across the country, including 241 in Dhaka. In the capital, thousands of people are set to throng the Buriganga on Wednesday to observe the final phase of the festival -- the immersion of the Goddess Durga. Devotees in their tearful eyes will bid farewell to the mother deity and her children – Lakshmi, Saraswati, Kartik and Ganesh – as the idols will be immersed, wishing the Goddess Durga’s return next year. Meanwhile, there will be strict security measures in place so that Durga puja ends peacefully. The five-day festival started on October with the incarnation (Bodhon) of the Goddess Durga marking Sashthi. Durga Puja, the annual Hindu festival also known as Sharadiya (autumnal) Durga Utsab, is the worship of "Shakti" (divine force) embodied in the Goddess Durga. It symbolises the battle between good and evil where the dark forces eventually succumb to the divine. Meanwhile, President Abdul Hamid has greeted the members of the country's Hindu community on the occasion. In his message, President Hamid said the main religious festival of the Bengali Hindu community is Durga Puja. "The country’s Hindu community has been celebrating the puja amid huge enthusiasm and festivity with different rituals since ancient times."
Like every year, the joy of Durga Puja had spread throughout Narayanganj with the participation of people of all religions from the sixth to the eighth day of the festival this year too. But whereas every year it is Bijaya Dashami (the 10th day, on Wednesday this year) that is associated with a solemn air for the departure of Goddess Durga, this year it was Nabami (the 9th day, that fell on Tuesday) that got covered in a pall of gloom due to the countrywide blackout. On Tuesday afternoon, the entire district lost electricity, alongside most of the nation. After 8 pm, electricity returned in some areas of Narayanganj city but most areas still remained without power till 10 pm. For the three previous days of the puja, the district town was full of light, but today the mood of the puja was ruined due to the blackout. Many mandaps around the city could be seen ready for the celebrations on the surface. Every year, Nabami is the day when there is a lot of noise around the mandaps, but this year Nabami seems to be completely silent. Even though there are elaborate lighting systems set up, there is no light on the roads due to lack of electricity. Nabami is usually the most joyous day of the festival. In Amlapara, we ran into Amit Das, who felt robbed of the climatic atmosphere one associates with Nabami. “Usually there are so many people in the temples, there is no space to walk,” said Amit. “People are just happier. But compared to that, there are no people in the mandaps this year. No happy faces. No electricity, darkness all around, nobody likes it. Everyone went home.” In Tanbazar area, one Mitu Chakraborty said, "Everyone likes to roam around on the night of Nabami during the puja. But this year all joy has faded in darkness. I went to two temples. There was no music playing. I don't feel good, I'll leave after a while. The electricity went and ruined the joy of worship."
The five-day Durga Puja, the largest festival of the Hindu community, comes to an end Wednesday with the solemn immersion of the Goddess Durga across the country. And after the hit that Bangladesh’s secular credentials, or its reputation for communal harmony, took during the same festival last year - with temples and Puja mandaps attacked in multiple districts, all triggered by a deliberate act of provocation in Cumilla - it is safe to say the entire country will feel relieved that this year’s Durga Puja will have passed without much incident. Fingers crossed of course, for the last 24 hours. Devotees will throng Puja mandaps to celebrate Bijoya Dashami, the last day of the festival, recite the mantras, offer flowers to the goddess Durga (pushpanjali) and pray for her blessings. The mandaps across the country have been decorated with beautiful idols, showcasing the goddess in all her glory. Bijoya Dashami is the special ceremony of reaffirming peace and good relations among people. On this day, families visit each other to share sweetmeats. Married Hindu women put vermilion on each other's foreheads on the occasion. Read: No security lapses for Durga Puja: Rab DG In Bangladesh this year, the religious festival is being celebrated at some 32,168 puja mandaps spread throughout the country, including 241 in capital Dhaka. In the capital, thousands of people are set to throng the Buriganga tomorrow to observe the final phase of the festival -- the immersion of the goddess Durga signifying her return to Kailash. Devotees in their tearful eyes will bid farewell to the mother deity and her children – Lakshmi, Saraswati, Kartik and Ganesh – through the immersion of their idols in the water wishing Durga’s return next year. Meanwhile, there will be strict security measures in place so that Durga Puja ends peacefully. President Abdul Hamid has issued a message greeting the members of the country's Hindu community on the occasion. In his message, President Hamid said the main religious festival of the Bengali Hindu community is Durga Puja. The country’s Hindu community has been celebrating the puja amid huge enthusiasm and festivity with different rituals since ancient times. Also read: Durga puja: A festival that unites Bangladesh! Durga Puja is not just a religious festival, but also a social one, he added. “Communal harmony is the eternal tradition of Bengalis. This tradition must be carried forward in our overall progress together,” he urged all. The five-day festival started on October 1 with the incarnation (Bodhon) of the Goddess Durga marking Sashthi. Durga Puja, the annual Hindu festival also known as Sharadaya (autumnal) Durgotsob, is the worship of "Shakti" [divine force] embodied in goddess Durga. It symbolises the battle between good and evil where the dark forces eventually succumb to the divine. Close to 8 percent of Bangladesh’s more than 160 million people are Hindu.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday asked all not to magnify any incident that goes against any religion, rather look at the punitive measures that have been taken by the government. “Do not magnify any incident that takes place in any area (of the country), rather I will request you to look at the punitive measures of the government against that incident,” she said. The Prime Minister said this while speaking at a greetings exchange programme with the Hindu religious people of the country on the occasion of Durga Puja. The programme was held at the premises of Dhakeshwari National Temple while the Prime Minister joined the programme virtually from her official residence--Ganabhaban. Sheikh Hasina also sought cooperation from all including the Hindus to maintain communal harmony in the country. “I will seek your cooperation in this regard and hope that you will cooperate,” she said. Read: Be vocal against anti-state propaganda: PM She said that the government always tries to uphold the non-communal spirit or secular character of the country and step forward towards prosperity maintaining that. The Prime Minister again categorically warned that no one will be allowed to undermine anyone’s religious sentiment. “No one will be allowed to say anything (derogatory) hitting others’ religious sentiment. This is applicable for any religion,” she said. She said that religion is about one’s belief. “It is one’s belief on Allah or the Creator, we have to go with that belief.” In this connection, she said that Islam is a very open and generous religion, and there are directives in Islam to show respect to all other religions. She mentioned about Surah Kafirun where it is stated that every person will perform their respective religious rituals and people from all religions will enjoy equal rights. “And we believe that from our heart.” Read: Convey misrule, brutality under BNP regimes: PM tells expat Bangladeshis
Brothers Hemant Roy and Vasudev Roy live in Arazi Shikarpur Battali village under Panchagarh’s Boda Upazila. Seven members of their family were on a boat on September 25 – going to the other side of the Karatoya river to perform Mahalaya rituals. Five of them were among the victims who drowned in the Karatoya when the boat sank. “I have lost everything… my wife, my brother’s wife, three grandchildren. I am numb. We’re not in a state to celebrate Durga Puja,” a distraught Hemant Roy said. Not only Hemant and Vasudev, grief has gripped several other families in Boda, Debiganj, Atwari and Sadar upazilas of the district who have lost their near and dear ones in the boat capsize that claimed 69 lives. The tragedy occurred on the day of Mahalaya – the auspicious occasion heralding the arrival of Goddess Durga – on September 25, when an overloaded boat carrying around 80 people, mostly Hindu devotees, sank in the middle of Karatoya river while heading towards Badheshwar Temple. So far, 69 bodies have been recovered while three still remain missing. Read: Karatoya boat tragedy: Death toll rises to 69 This is the worst waterway accident Bangladesh witnessed after the devastating fire on a Barguna-bound launch, off the coast of Jhalakathi, on December 24 last year, in which 50 lives were lost. The Hindu community in Panchagarh are observing Durga Puja without the usual festivities, mourning and honouring those who died in the boat capsize. Panchagarh district units of Hindu Buddhist Christian Oikya Parishad and Bangladesh Puja Udjapan Parishad took the decision on Friday, said Puja Udjapan Parishad’s district president Jibodhan Bamman and general secretary Bipen Chandra Roy.
Adequate arrangements have been made to ensure security for the celebration of Durga Puja without any trouble, said newly-appointed Director General of Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) M Khurshid Hossain on Monday. “We are doing cyber monitoring. Intelligence surveillance has become greater than any time before,” he said after inspecting the security measures of the Puja Mandap at Banani in Dhaka. He said there was no specific threat from any quarters despite reports that 50 to 60 young men have remained missing while intelligence officials suspect that they have joined radical groups. Read: Keep vigil against vandalism during Durga Puja: Obaidul Quader asks AL members “No matter how smart they are, they will not succeed,” he said adding that security officials are monitoring the activities of the missing young men who left their homes and remained traceless. “At the end of the puja, we wish to see some good results. We are working on it,” he said. Rab has reinforced intelligence surveillance across the country since September 25 to ensure overall security during Durga Puja. Read Palbari Puja Mandap in Sherpur: Sign of communal harmony for over a century Rab members have been deployed to strengthen security from October 1 to October 6. Apart from carrying out sweeping operations at various important places including Puja mandaps, Rab’s bomb disposal unit is working round the clock for any situation, said the DG. This year, the Durga Puja began on Saturday, with the incarnation (bodhon) of the Goddess in temples across the country. Read With scars from 2021, Cumilla sees tighter security for Durga Puja The five-day Durga Puja festival will culminate with the immersion of idols on October 5. Close to 8 percent of Bangladesh’s more than 160 million people are Hindu.
For the last 127 years, Durga Puja is being celebrated at Sherpur’s Palbari Puja Mandap with much fanfare. Palbari is a testament to the fact that communal harmony and freedom of religion are deeply ingrained in the Bangladeshi psyche. Durga Puja at Palbari Mandap is a family event held at the house of late educationist Nagendra Chandra Pal in Khalbhanga area under Sherpur’s Nalitabari upazila. Besides being the oldest puja mandap of Sherpur district, it is also known as the second oldest mandap of the country. According to Palbari Puja Committee Chairman Gourango Chandra Pal, Durga Puja celebration at Palbari mandap started in 1885 by Mangal Ram Sarkar, the ancestor of Pal family. After Mangal’s death, his son Nagendra continued arranging the puja for half a century. Nagendra is no more, but the puja is still being arranged thanks to the relentless efforts of his four sons, who are now in charge. Read: With scars from 2021, Cumilla sees tighter security for Durga Puja Over the years, Durga Puja at Palbari has become an integral part of the lives of the local Hindu community. From a mere family tradition, it has developed into a popular festival. The local Hindu devotees view the Palbari puja as a junction where people from all faiths mingle to find happiness. The Palbari puja mandap has a strong legacy. During the Bangladesh liberation war in 1971, when the Pakistani military were killing Hindus in droves, the Pal family continued celebrating Durga Puja defying all danger. This is a proof of the power that culture, tradition and religion possess. Bishwajit Pal, Nagendra’s son, said that the century-old Palbari puja mandap has been able to propagate harmony among the local people. Read: Bagerhat’s Durga Puja attraction: 151 idols in one mandap “We don’t discriminate against anyone based on his religious identity. The Palbari Puja Mandap is open for all. Arti and cultural programmes at the mandap every evening have become a source of entertainment for the local people,” he said. “We have been arranging the puja for four generations. Now the time has come for our next generation to take over. Through this puja, we just want to share happiness and regard best wishes for people,” Bishwajit said. Biplab Dey Ketu, a local journalist, said he has never missed the Palbari Puja since his childhood. Read Keep vigil against vandalism during Durga Puja: Obaidul Quader asks AL members “People from the area wait every year for this festival to commence. Our hearts become content each time we visit the place,” he said. This year, Durga Puja is being celebrated in 144 mandaps in Sherpur district. To avert any untoward incident, security has been beefed up at the festival sites. While all the mandaps have been brought under CCTV surveillance, a large number of police and Ansar personnel have also been deployed. Read 5 Durga Puja Bhog Recipes to try this festive season Besides non-stop patrolling by the law enforcement agencies, volunteers from the Puja Udjapon Parishad are also working tirelessly to ensure security in Sherpur’s Palbari Puja Mandap, organisers say.