In a distinctive practice, those who participate in the 'Kali Dour’ Competition ensure that their Kali idols remain intact before immersion. The tradition dictates that the first immersion must be of their personally worshipped Kali idol. Devotees carry the revered idol on their shoulders and sprint towards the riverbank after the race.
This ritual, rooted in the royal customs of Chanchal in Malda, remains unchanged even after 350 years. Locals gather in anticipation each year to witness the spectacle, where participants from eight localities carry their Kali idols through the narrow lanes.
Delving into the history of 'Kali Dour,' it was initiated by the erstwhile king Sharatchandra Roychoudhury around 350 years ago. Back then, Malda had only one pond, and the competition was a means of ensuring the proper cleansing and immersion of multiple Kali idols from the local Kali Bari.
The tradition continued through the years, and even in the present day, the spirit of Kali Dour persists, albeit without royal patronage. Despite the absence of a king, the traditional procedures are faithfully followed in the Malda region.
Last Monday, the historic ‘Kali Dour’ unfolded in Malda, with eight Kali idols participating, including Buri Kali, Chhunka Kali, Bazarpara Kali, Aam Kali, Hanta Kali, Haat Kali, and Shyama Kali. The Puja committee and local residents collectively escorted the idols, beginning at the Puja venue and concluding at Kali Dighi.
This competition, enjoyed not only by locals but also by enthusiasts from distant places, symbolises the unity and fervour surrounding the age-old tradition of the Kali Dour Competition in Malda.