|India's main religious festival season is back in full swing with huge noisy crowds thronging markets and fairs for the first time in two years. (Photo by=AFP)|
[Asia News = Reporter Reakkana] KOLKATA: India's main religious festival season is back in full swing with huge noisy crowds, thronging markets and fairs for the first time in two years, barely six months after a devastating COVID-19 surge. BBC reported that the coronavirus is still claiming more than 200 lives daily in the nation of 1.3 billion people but that is down sharply from the 4,000 fatalities in April and May.
Most activities are back to normal and India has administered almost 1 billion vaccine doses, with around 75 percent of people receiving at least one shot. India's peak holiday season includes Durga Puja, Dussehra and Deepavali, major Hindu festivals celebrated with noise, colour and exuberance across the country. It’s also the time when people splurge on dresses, sweets, cars and other consumer goods, vital for fuelling the battered economy, the world's sixth-biggest.
In Kolkata on Thursday (Oct 14), crowds flocked colourful "pandals", temporary structures where idols of the Hindu goddess Durga are installed during the festivities. The spectators jostled for a glimpse of a 44m high pandal designed as a replica of Dubai's Burj Khalifa skyscraper, complete with a dazzling laser show. Meanwhile, the neighbouring states of Bihar and Assam have also witnessed huge festival crowds as have the western states of Maharashtra and Gujarat.