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Sharmili Mallick

Bhubaneswar/Cuttack: All roads in twin cities of Cuttack and Bhubaneswar led to sweets, lights and firecrackers shops as Diwali fervour gripped the State today. People also offered homage and tributes to their ancestors during the festival of lights.

Reports said due to the restrictions imposed on bursting of crackers by the Supreme Court, the sale of firecrackers recorded a steep reduction in the twin city. However people were seen buying decorative lights, tree lights and candles to celebrate Diwali this year.

“I bought the multi-coloured lights which are quite beautiful and attractive. Many prefer Indian hand-made items than the Chinese lights,” said a resident of Cuttack.

“As there are restrictions on the sale of China made lights, many varieties are not available with us. However, there are some seven-eight Indian handmade lights which are doing good business,” said a trader.

Meanwhile, Commissionerate police has issued safety guidelines with regard to bursting of firecrackers as per the directives of the Supreme Court. Residents of Bhubaneswar and Cuttack have been directed to burst firecrackers between 8 PM and 10 PM. Firecrackers with more than 125 decibels and China made garland crackers have been completely banned. People have also been advised to buy firecrackers only from licensed sellers.

On the other hand, pilgrim city Puri echoed with ‘Badabadua Ho Andharare Aasa, Aalua Re Jao’ (Oh forefathers, come in darkness and go back in light) chanting with devotees thronging Singhadwara, in front of Srimandir to offer ‘Paya Shraddha’ (homage) to their ancestors since morning on the occasion of Diwali. Eldest son of each family burnt bunches of ‘Kaunria Kathi’ (jute stick) in front of Singhadwara and invoked their forefathers.

It is believed that the souls of fathers, which came to their descendants' place on 'Mahalaya', leave their children's house for the heaven on the day of Diwali.

“I have come all the way from Khalikote in Ganjam to pay homage to my father, mother and forefathers,” said a woman devotee.

The Puri administration has made elaborate arrangements and earmarked places along the Badadanda where the devotees can burn Kaunria Kathis. Fire department has also been kept on toes to tackle any emergency situation.

People also reached Bindusagar Lake in Bhubaneswar to offer special puja and Paya Shraddha to their descendants on Kartik Amavasya.

In Bhadrak, special rituals are being offered at Bhadrakali Peetha since yesterday night on the occasion of Kali Puja that coincides with Diwali. A huge crowd gathered in the temple to take the glimpse of the goddess in ‘Maha Kali Besha’. Kali Puja is celebrated for seven days here and the goddess is decorated in seven different attires in these days.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, Former MP Baijayant Panda and OPCC President Niranjan Patnaik took to twitter and greeted the people on the auspicious occasion Diwali. Sand animator Sudarsan Pattnaik also created a sand a sculpture at Puri sea beach wishing the people on the 'festival of lights' with the messge 'No crackers, save nature'

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