Dol festival celebrated in West Bengal

Kolkata: West Bengal on Sunday celebrated the spring festival of Dol in a riot of colours, songs, prayers and exchange of sweets among friends, relatives and neighbours.

Thousands of people from across India and several other countries congregated in Birbhum district’s Santiniketan, about 180 km from here, for Dol celebrations.

Nobel laureate-poet Rabindranath Tagore in Santiniketan had reintroduced Dol as spring festival in the Visva Bharati university founded by him.

The Santiniketan campus came alive to the strains of music and rhythm of dance as people jived to the tune of popular Tagore songs that exhorted everyone to mingle in joy.

The festivities began at the crack of dawn as girls and boys of Visva Bharati, accompanied by their teachers, went around the campus urging people through songs to open their doors and celebrate Dol.

The girls, resplendent in golden sarees and garlands of fragrant flowers, and boys decked up in traditional kurtas, then took part in a song and dance routine at the football ground. The function ended with everyone smearing the other with gulal.

The curtains would come down on the festivities in the evening, with the rendering of Tagore’s dance drama “Taser Desh” by the university students.

In the metropolis, Bengalis exchanged sweets and pleasantries.

As the morning progressed, the youngsters moved around their neighbourhoods in groups, throwing water missiles and smearing coloured powder on one another.

A large number of police pickets have been set up across the metropolis, with Disaster Management Group personnel deployed at ghats of the Ganga.

In parts of the state, the festival is marked by placing the idols of Krishna and Radha on a picturesquely decorated palanquin, which is carried by the devotees around the town.

People danced around and sang hymns in joy, sprayed coloured water and smeared gulal on one another.

The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (Iskcon) at its global headquarters in Nadia district’s Mayapur, about 130 km from here, observed the day as the birth anniversary of Vaishnav saint Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

Devotional songs and cultural programmes, discourses about the life and teachings of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu were organised on the occasion.