Colourful processions were taken out in different localities in the morning, while devotees thronged the heritage Dakshineswar Temple, and Kali temple at Kalighat to offer puja and seek blessings for a happy and prosperous 'Poila Baisakh' (Bengali new year) on Saturday.
Braving sweltering heat, men and women - dressed in ethnic wear - joined the 'Prabhat Pheri' (cultural procession in morning) singing the popular song of Tagore - 'Hey Notun Dekha Dik Arbar' (let the new greet us with new hopes) with colourful tableaux depicting the rural life of Bengal, palanquins, models of baul singers forming part of procession.
Extending her wish for the people on the occasion, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee tweeted "On the occasion of Poila Boishakh, I extend my heartfelt greetings to all fellow residents." "I wish the dawn of New Year brings an abundance of hope, happiness, & health in your lives. Today, let's commit to the inclusive welfare and development of society. Subho Nobo Borsho" the CM said on the microblogging site.
One of the processions, organised by Rajdanga Naba Uday Sangha, an award winning Durga Puja committee in the south, consisted of women in red bordered saree dancing to the accompaniment of Tagore song 'Eso he Baisakh eso eso' (invoking the month of Baisakh). Similar rallies were taken out in Gol Park-Rasbehari area and hub of cultural activities - the Academy of Fine Arts building.
Ringing in the 'Nababarsho' (Bengali New year 1430) and setting the stage for the Durga Puja celebrations, TheThakurpukur S B Park Sarbojanin, another award winning Durga Puja committee, organised the 'Khuti' Puja, holding puja to commence setting up the marquee where the deity will be housed during the puja about six months from now.
People participate in a rally to celebrate Bengali New year, in Calcutta, Saturday April 15, 2023 PTI
Customers were seen visiting the neighbourhood shops to ceremonially mark business transaction on the first day of the Bengali new year, which is called 'Halkhata', as crowds were seen before jewellery shops, cloth stores, sweet shops and others since the afternoon.
In a historic move, Governor C V Ananda Bose decided to allow people 'heritage walk' through some parts of the Raj Bhavan on Saturday, built by the Britishers in 1803.
People holding idols wait to worship at Kali Temple during Bengali New Year celebrations, in Nadia, Saturday, April 15, 2023 PTI
Popular eateries like Bhajahari Manna, Saptapadi, 6 Ballygunje Place, Bhooter Raja Dilo Bar, Oh Calcutta, Kasturi among others rolled out delicacies like Bhetki Paturi, Bhapa ILish, Daab Chingri, Gandharaj Chicken, Doi Murgi, Doi lish, Mutton Dak Bungalow, Dhokar Dalna with chutney, papad, misti, payes.
Despite sizzling heatwave like conditions, long lines were seen outside different outlets of the popular Bengali cuisine restaurant brands apart from countless small eateries across the city and state.
The scale of celebrations despite heatwave like conditions were reminiscent of the pre-Covid days as the festivities were on a muted note in 2020-2021 and the pandemic effect were felt even in 2022. On the previous night processions with dazzling Chandernagore lighting were seen in different parts of the city on the last day of the month of 'Chaitra'.
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