📷 of ladies queued up for 'Sindoor Khelā' on Bijayā Dashami at Bagbazar Sarbajanin Durgotsav, Kolkata
2018 had been the 100th year of worship of goddess Durgā by BAGHBAZAR SARBOJONIN DURGOTSAV AND EXHIBITION, an inseparable part of the history and progress of Bengali culture. Every year, the gigantic, magnificent, traditional idol of Durgā is created by Jiten Paul and sons. In 1938-1939 this organization was privileged by the active participation of Netaji Subhash Ch. Bose as the president. The connection of the committee with the Swadeshi Movement is still cherished with the Birashtami Utsab in the morning of Mahāstami.
Sindoor Khelā literally means 'vermillion game' and is a Bengali tradition observed on Bijayā Dashami, the last day of Durgā Pujā.
The ritual worship of the goddess Durgā concludes with the Visarjan Pujā. It is followed by Devi Baran, where the married women bid farewell to the goddess. The women usually dress in white saris with red borders and adorn traditional jewellery. Each of the women perform ārati and smear the goddess' feet with sindoor. They also offer her sweets and betel leaves. Following that the women smear each other's foreheads with sindoor. Then they put sindoor on each other's shānkhā, palā and noā (the conch shell, coral and iron bangles respectively), which are worn by married Bengali Hindu women. Finally they offer sweets to each other as prasād. According to commonly held belief, if a woman participates in Sindoor Khelā by following the proper customs, she will never be widowed.
Earlier, unmarried women, widows and non-Hindus had been barred from participating in the ritual, but at present women from all corners- be it married, unmarried, widowed, non-Bengali, non-Hindu, non-Indian, transgendered or women from the red-light area- all participate in Sindoor Khelā, making it a universal bonding for women.