Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Various towns and adjoining places in Odisha have turned bright and colourful as the major part of the Durga puja celebrations kicked off with the Shasthi rituals across the State on Saturday. 

The festival marks the victory of good over evil. It is celebrated with great vigor and festivities. 

Preparations have reached the crescendo at most of the pandals in the State. While ‘Sasthi Puja’ is being observed at the puja pandals, ‘Saptami Puja’ will be observed at various ‘Shakti’ shrines in the State today.

Following ‘Bilwabarana’ ritual Goddess Durga will be invoked to the pandals for worship for which elaborate arrangements have been made. Though it is a 10-day festival, the actual Puja revelry usually begins on Shashthi and lasts till Dashami.

The face of the Durga idol is unveiled on Shashthi, which is the first day of the celebrations. Several rituals are performed on Shashthi such as kalprarambha, bodhon, amantran, and adhibash. The beginning of the Puja is known as Kalprarambha. Unveiling of the face of the Durga idol is known as bodhon, which is performed in the evening. Amantran refers to inviting Devi Durga while adhibash is the ritual of sanctifying the stay of the Goddess in the mandap.

After a hiatus of two years due to Covid-19 restrictions, the entire State is doused in hues of festive fervour. Every nook in Odisha is rejoicing in its own ways of celebrations. Every year, different localities come up with theme-based, attractive pandals and idols. This year too, the cities are basking in glory of their individual innovative pandals. 

With Cuttack city all set to celebrate Durga Puja with the usual fervour after a lull of two years, as many as 28 committees will have  ‘chandi medha’ (silver tableau) this time. The College Square Puja Committee is busy decorating its pandal backdrop with silver filigree work. As per the committee, 3.5 quintal silver worth Rs 2.5 crore will be used for decorating the medha. From Mahesmati manson of Bahubali movie to Amarnath cave, puja associations in Cuttack have erected impressive facades giving the visitors a full opportunity for memorable experiences of celebration this time. While Badambadi puja committee has erected a huge ‘torana’ with Mahesmati manson shape, Khannagar has erected an Amarnath cave like structure.

“Khannagar Puja committee is completing its 70-years of puja this year. On this special occasion, a torana of Amarnath cave like structure has been erected. A light and sound show will be organised at the gate for the first time in Odisha,” said a member of Khannagar Durga Puja committee.

Various puja committees in and organizers in the Capital City have also come up with innovative ideas to attract pandal-hoppers.