Kolkata, Apr 15 (PTI) “Poila Baishakh”, the Bengali New Year, was celebrated across West Bengal today as people thronged temples and opened “haal khata” (ledger books) in shops and markets in keeping with tradition.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee greeted the people on the occasion via Twitter and Facebook posts. Banerjee also visited the Kalighat Temple early today.

In his message, West Bengal Governor K N Tripathi said, “May the Bengali New Year bring with it peace and prosperity to all people of the state. I pray that this New Year fulfills the hopes and desires of the entire people of West Bengal. On this auspicious occasion, I convey my heartiest greetings to the people of West Bengal and Bengalis all over the country as also abroad and wish them a happy, prosperous and joyful new year.”

Hundreds thronged to see sunrise, considered to be auspicious on the first day of the new year, followed by “Prabhat Pheris” (morning cultural processions) organised in many localities of the city, especially in the northern part.

Children donned special attire and danced to the tunes of Rabindra Sangeet to usher in the first month of the Bengali New Year “Baisakh”.

It was followed by processions, in which women were seen clad in traditional sarees and garlands, and men in Dhuti-kurtas.

Thousands of devotees thronged Dakshineswar Kali temple to seek the goddess’ blessings.

In several households, Ganesha and Laxmi were worshipped. Since Baisakh also marks the onset of the harvest season in the state, people also worshipped clouds, seeking good rain.

In the Maidan, “Bar Pujo” was celebrated at Mohun Bagan, East Bengal and Mohammedan Sporting grounds amid cheer from supporters and officials of the respective clubs.

Long queues were seen in front of restaurants serving Bengali delicacies on the special day.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.