Sindur Khela

Vijaya/ Bijoya Dashami is the last day of Durga Puja, when devotees bid farewell to the goddess and the countdown begins to her arrival next year. As she goes back to her husband Lord Shiva, women apply sindur (traditionally worn in their hair by married Hindu women) on her forehead and feet and offer sweets to her. They then smear each others’ faces with sindur to invoke a long life for their husbands. The exact origin of the custom is unclear, but the initial idea seems to have been for women to bond with each other. In recent times, the ritual has drawn some criticism for being exclusionary, limited as it was to married women. Several groups have now begun a more inclusive form of sindur khela, in which all women participate, including those from the LGBTQ community. Traditionally, women perform this ritual in white sarees with red borders, and the resulting splashes of colour produce some spectacular visuals. See for yourself, and remember to take photos. "