Durga Puja is a festival that holds a special place in the hearts of people, heralding its arrival with the crisp autumn sky and the enchanting sound of joyful ululations.
The bustling city of Dhaka comes alive with anticipation when the biggest religious festival in the Hindu community approaches. The rhythmic beats of the dhaks (a musical instrument like drum) and the occasional cool breeze add to the joy of the season.
Amid all the festivities, it is the children who are often the most excited participants, infusing an unmatched vibrancy into Durga Puja.
Beyond the grand mandaps dedicated to the worship of Goddess Durga, a bustling array of shops offers various items outside.
While the solemn worship takes place inside, the enthusiasm of children casts a radiant light upon the proceedings in both small and large pavilions.
Draped in vibrant new attire, their sheer happiness adds a sense of liveliness and exuberance to the festival.
Take, for instance, Loknath Ghosh, a 10-year-old, at Sri Sri Mahaprabhu Akhara Mandir in Rayerbazar. Dressed in his finest new clothes, he and his friends make a visit to the temple.
Children are seen posing for a photo in front of a mandap in a temple in Dhaka on Monday, October 23, 2023. Photo: Famiha Suhrawardy/Dhaka Tribune
Amidst cheerful exclamations, Loknath said: "Durga Puja is our grandest festival. I've got many new outfits, and on the tenth day, I'll wear my finest attire. I've been here since morning, and I'm all set to dance and sing my heart out tonight."
There were also two cousins, Sourav Das and Deepto Das, who have come to worship at the mandap along with their grandmother. Their eyes gleam with joy as they capture the festive spirit.
Sourav excitedly said: "I'm staying here until night, enjoying the holiday season with no studies to worry about. Durga Puja is a perennial celebration for us."
Deepto added: "I've got three new outfits, and Dashami is a particularly special day for us. I'll be visiting Dhakeshwari temple with my parents that day."
A carefree time
A girl named Raja Lakshmi was seen standing before the ancient Sri Sri Mahaprabhu Akhara temple mandap in Rayerbazar, dressed in a radiant red outfit and a cheerful demeanor.
She said: "I've come here with my father and friends, and I'm about to participate in the Aarti. Durga Puja is my favorite time, and I'm fasting tomorrow. My school holiday extends until October 29, so I'm simply here to have fun."
In the vicinity of the Sri Sri Jigatala Shiva Temple, Vishnu plays the tambourine while several children dance in perfect harmony with the music.
The audience watches in awe as the children's exuberance fills the air.
Vishnu, momentarily resting from his intense playing of dhak, told Dhaka Tribune: "I've been playing the dhak for a long time now, and I derive immense joy from it during Puja. In the evening, everyone gathers for prayer, and the atmosphere of worship is truly unique. My favorite season is Durga Puja."