Agartala, Oct 8 : Saddened and teary-eyed devotees, rushing to touch her feet on last time, before bidding a farewell to their beloved Mother goddess Durga as her idols were immersed in rivers, lakes and ponds across Tripura on Vijaya Dashami on Tuesday.
The banks of the Haora river in Agartala and other rivers and lakes wore a festive look as organisers came in colourful processions to the accompaniment of drums to immerse idols of the goddess and her four children - Lakshmi, Saraswati, Ganesha and Kartik.
Women dressed in white and red saris indulged in 'sindoor khela' or the playful smearing of vermilion on each other's face inside the marquees, before the idols were taken away for immersion.
Though over 2,500 community and about 200 family Durga Pujas were held in Tripura, the 525-years-old Durga Puja at the famous Durgabari temple in Agartala remains the main attraction for numerous reasons, including for its centuries old customs, kept alive by the royal family and Tripura government.
The idols of Durgabari with a big "Dashami procession" were immersed at Dashamighat here with full state honours, with the state police band playing the national song.
Historian and writer Salil Debbarma told IANS that at the end of the 1355-year-rule by 184 kings, on October 15, 1949, the erstwhile princely state of Tripura came under the control of the Indian government after a merger agreement was signed between regent Maharani Kanchan Prabha Devi and the Indian Governor General.
The merger agreement made it mandatory for the Tripura government to continue the sponsorship (including sacrifice of animals at government expenditure) of several traditional tribal pujas and 14 temples, including the Durga Bari and Mata Tripura Sundari Temple, run by the Hindu princely rulers.
This continued for around seven decades. A full-fledged department - Public Place of Worship (PPW) or 'Debarchan Vibhaga' functioning under district magistrates in four of Tripura's eight districts now has this responsibility and bears the entire expenditure of these temples in Tripura.
The personnel of National Disaster Response Force were also ready in all immersion places to act in any eventuality and emergency.
Police said that all the idols would not be immersed on Tuesday and ot would be done in the next few days as was done previously.
Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb and his wife Niti Deb in a unique gesture celebrated the "Bijaya Dashami" with the common people.
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-- The story has been published from a wire feed without any modifications to the text