Sindhur Khela or Sindoor Khela is the ritual observed on the last day of Navratri Durga Puja. The Navratri Puja is held for nine days in which the nine forms of Goddess Durga are worshipped on each day and on the tenth day, the festival of Vijayadashami is celebrated and the Goddess is given a grand send off to her heavenly abode. In 2017, Sindhur Khela date is September 30.
It is believed that the Goddess comes to earth every year during Navaratri to visit her parents and devotees worship her during this period with grand celebrations.
On the last day of navaratri, ie Vijaya Dashami day, the ritual of “Sindhur Khela” is observed. Sindhur Khela literally means the Vermillion game. As part of the ritual, the women perform arati of the Goddess and place paan in her hands, put some sweets on the lips of the idol and worship her. They also wipe the eyes of the Goddess as to wipe the tears of loved ones and prepare to send her off with a heavy heart. Then vermillion is applied on the forehead of the Goddess and they greet each other with sweets.
Married women especially apply vermillion on each other’s forehead and greet them with sweets. Normally it is tradition for the mother in law to give an iron bangle interlaced with gold or silver to a new bride as the first gift. After the puja is complete and the idols are ready to be taken for immersion, women take some sindhur from in front of the idols and apply it on their forehead and on the iron bangle.
Thus the ritual of Sindhur Khela is observed and the devotees get ready to send off the Goddess to her heavenly abode in a grand procession. Later the idols are taken to the nearby lakes or rivers and immersed in the evening.