Pradeep Pattanayak

Maha Saptami rituals of goddess Durga have started at all the pandals across the State on Sunday with much fanfare. The rituals started with Mangala Alati and were followed up with Nabapatrika snana-o-sthapana, ‘Chakshu Daan’, ‘Pran Pratistha’ and ‘Khadga Puja’ rituals.

The significance of the ‘Chakshu Daan’ ritual is that the goddess is invited to the earth by drawing eyes on idols.

Since Cuttack city is synonymous with Durga puja, no puja description seems to be complete without the mention of Durga Puja in the Millennium city.

After a gap of two years, Cuttack city has once again come alive with all sorts of activities of Durga Puja. Pandals across the city are gearing up for the Maha Saptami puja of the goddess.

After being a subdued affair due to the outbreak of Covid pandemic for two years, this time the festival has once again brought the puja excitement and frenzy back.

As Cuttack city’s claim of fame is Dusshera celebration, the entire city is now immersed in the festive mood. Starting from roads, lanes and by lanes to nook and cranny of the city are bedecked with rice lights and gigantic light gates. These apart, sky-kissing theme-based gates or welcome arches have also come up at the pandals.

Most importantly, this year puja is being celebrated without any restrictions like the height of idol and decoration. The committees have put up with silver tableaux and several committees have adorned their idols with loads of gold ornaments as well.

During puja time, maintaining law and order situation has always been a prime concern of the police department. As many as 60 platoon forces have been deployed across the city while over 100 officers have been engaged to look after the situation.

Sharing details about the security arrangements, Cuttack DCP Pinak Mishra said, “Adequate arrangements have been put in place to maintain law and order situation in Cuttack city during this puja season. Traffic management, crowd management, general safety and security have been given adequate focus. Around 60 platoon police forces have been deployed across the city and over 100 senior officers are there to look after the situation.”

Similarly, Maha Saptami rituals are progressing at all the pandals in Bhubaneswar as well. As capital residents couldn’t hop pandals for two years due to the pandemic situation, this year they are eagerly waiting to hop pandals. Puja Committees at Sahid Nagar, Rasulgarh, Jharpada and Nayapalli have also put up massive gates and pandals.

On the occasion of Durga Puja, renowned sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik created a seven-foot-high sand sculpture of Maa Durga at Puri sea beach, using seven tons of sand.

 It took him five hours to complete the art. The sculpture is decorated with 12 types of fruits like oranges, apples, grapes, cabbages, coconuts, cucumbers, custard apples and coriander leaves. Through his art, Pattnaik has sought peace and prosperity for all.

“Every year, we create Maa Durga’s sand sculpture with a different theme. This year, we have used 12 types of fruits in a decorative way to create the goddess’s sculpture,” informed Pattnaik.

(Reported by Odisha TV Bureau )