West Bengal on Thursday plunged into religious fervour with simultaneous Diwali and Kali Puja celebrations.A light spell of rain failed to dampen the spirits as devotees geared up for double celebrations this year, with Diwali and Kali Puja falling on the same day.Durga Puja hangover had barely subsided when preparations for the "twin dhamaka" began.Over the years, Kali Puja celebrations have been scaled up to match the lingering festive atmosphere post Durga Puja, the biggest festival in West Bengal.Fresh marquees (pandals) across the city have sprung up while several community pujas refrained from dismantling the Durga Puja pandals, decking them up again to serve Goddess Kali.People across the state exchanged sweets and savouries with friends, neighbours and relatives. The festival saw the mingling of a sizeable population of non-Bengali communities (Marwari, Gujarati, Bihari) and Bengalis across the state to celebrate Diwali.Thousands visited Kalighat and Dakshineswar Kali temples since morning.Long queues were seen at Tarapith temple near Rampurhat in Birbhum district, where lakhs converged to pray to Goddess.
South Indian community's "kolam" (rangoli with interconnecting dots and flowery patterns), "alpana" (traditional patterns) of the Bengalis and the multi-hued powdered "rangoli" designs of the north Indians stole many hearts.Ululations (high pitched vocal sounds) and peals of bells resonated across temples and residences observing Kali Puja, adding to the festive spirit.People hit the streets in their best ethnic wears, making way through various marquees and stopping for a bite. In Howrah district's Kantapukur marquee, organisers showcased women's oppression despite claims of gender equity. They urged women to stand up and triumph over discrimination.An array of crackers -- torches, sparklers, flowerpots, rockets -- spread cheer among revellers as they burst into colourful sparks against the night sky.Authorities have banned sale and use of crackers emitting over 90 decibel of sound to control noise pollution.The state government has also barred bursting of fireworks in the vicinity of Salt Lake stadium during the FIFA U-17 World Cup, which ends on October 28, to prevent deterioration of the quality of air.West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee greeted people on Kali Puja and Diwali.