Sidharth Tanmoy Dash

Bhubaneswar: With the Sasthi puja (6th day) today, preparations are in full swing at various pandals across the State to usher in Goddess Durga. Many rituals including Bilwabarana are underway amid the music of conchs and chanting of shlokas.

On Saptami (7th day) tomorrow, special rituals along with ‘Chakhyu Dana’ of the Goddess will be performed and regular puja will be carried out near the Goddess henceforth.

Visitors have started thronging various pandals to have a glimpse of the Goddess.

Puja committees across the silver city, Cuttack have come up with tableaus and gold and silver-embellished idols of the Goddess and are likely to be the center of attraction for many devotees as usual.

"Choudhary Bazaar pandal has a special significance. We were the first to make silver pandal in 1995 and we are even the first to create a gold-embellished idol in the state," said Choudhary Bazaar puja committee president, Debasis Ray.

"We have adorned the Godess with 1.5kg gold and to ensure safety and security three armed guards have been provided by the police department," said Bhubaneswar Station Bazaar puja committee secretary, Deepak Jena.

Keeping in mind the use of gold, silver and other precious ornaments at various pandals, Commissionerate Police has beefed up security in the twin cities of Cuttack and Bhubaneswar. While 41 platoons of police force have been deployed in Cuttack, 31 platoons of police will maintain law and order situation in Bhubaneswar.

Festive fever has also picked up in other parts of Odisha including Puri, Sambalpur, Rourkela and Balasore where the atmosphere is agog with joy & excitement.