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Silver city goes for gold to decorate Puja mandaps

Cuttack: Shooting prices of gold are no deterrent for Durga Puja organisers here to decorate images with ornaments made of the yellow metal and to give a golden backdrop to the tableau.

The fetish for gold started when organisers of the Choudhury Bazaar Puja decorated the 'mandap' with gold and made a golden crown for Goddess Durga and other deities in 2002 to mark the puja's golden jubilee.

Before that silver used to be the chosen material for decorating tableaus or pandals in the Silver City, Cuttack's another name, called "Chandi Medha".

Later, the Choudhury Bazaar Puja added gold to its tableau replacing silver and this year the mandap of Choudhury Bazaar will sparkle with around eight kg of gold.

In fact, this committee was the first to go for silver tableau way back in 1951.

While three puja committees of the city had given that golden touch to their 'mandaps' earlier, this year, the Chauliaganj puja committee has joined the fray on the occasion of its golden jubilee celebrations. Goddess Durga here would be worshipped sporting a gold crown and gold ornaments.

"We have made the crown and ornaments of Maa Durga with 3.5 kg of gold costing nearly Rs 1.15 crore," puja committee secretary Niranjan Sahoo said.

Since the committee is celebrating golden jubilee this year, it is going to spend around Rs 16 lakh on decoration, cultural programmes, procession and prasad, Sahoo said.

Joining the Choudhury bazaar, the Sheikh Bazaar committee in 2005 made a crown of 3.5 kg of gold for the Goddess at a cost of Rs 28 lakhs and it was the centre of attraction for puja revellers in 2005.

They soon added another 2 kg of gold for the crowns of other deities. "We have not been able to add any more gold ornaments for the deities this year but we are thinking of replacing the silver crown of demon Mahisasur with gold net year," said its secretary Keshab Behera.

Then it was the turn of Mangalabag Puja committee which went for golden crown of the deities in 2010 spending a whopping Rs 1 crore on it. The crown of Goddess Durga is made of 2.5 kg of gold; while around 3 kg gold was used for making crowns of other deities on the mandap.

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