Clay idols of the goddess were seen with a crescent moon on the brow, riding a swan or seated on a lotus with flowers, fruits and sweets placed as offerings before it. Small marquees were put up in various localities where neighbours gathered to pay obeisance to the goddess.

The rituals started early morning and lasted till midday in schools, colleges, community clubs and households, with priests chanting mantras and devotees placing seasonal 'Palash' flowers at the deity's feet to the ringing sounds of cymbals and conch shells. Family members pitched in to make necessary arrangements for the elaborate rituals.

Women and girls were decked up in saris in various shades of yellow signifying 'Basant Panchami', heralding the arrival of spring. People from all age groups also had generous amounts of the customary 'khichdi' - a mixture of rice and lentils - accompanied with dollops of sweet chutney.

Traditionally, the day is a no-study affair for students who are happy to give their textbooks a miss to participate in functions organized by their educational institutes.

To receive the goddess's blessings, students place their books, pens and musical instruments beside the idol for the entire day. Students sing Rabindranath Tagore's songs with harmonium and 'tanpura' playing in the background.


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