A three-day yagna-fire worship-with 1,000 pyres began Friday here to ward off dengue and protect the ozone layer.
Amid chanting of Vedic hymns by Hindu priests from across the country and women carrying water pots on their heads, the ritual was performed with the lighting of a large number of kundas (pyres) at the premises of the Eastern Railway near here.
The yagna, organised by NGO Gayatri Janakalyan Sangha, was to ward off dengue, malaria and other diseases. The organiser added that the yagna was also to prevent the depletion of the ozone layer.
Though the organisers dubbed it the 'Ashwamedha Yagna' - a yagna depicted in the epic Ramayan, they did not bring any horse (ashwa) fearing protests from animal lovers.
The yagna had to be deferred earlier as the Calcutta High Court asked the West Bengal Pollution Control Board (WBPCB) to reply why it had permitted a religious rite that could pollute the environment.
But on Thursday the same court comprising the bench of Chief Justice V.R. Sirpurkar and Justice Nadira Patherya refused to pass an interim order on the matter and adjourned it for four weeks, leaving it to the NGO to decide on the number of kundas to be lit for the yagna.
Environmentalist Subhas Dutta had taken the matter to the court, saying the proposed lighting of 1,008 kundas would create major pollution. The court asked the WBPCB to take necessary steps if pollution norms were flouted.