Puja committee takes orphans to pandals

Cuttack: After spending lavishly on decoration, cultural evenings and huge processions without realising social responsibilities, puja committees of Cuttack city have now started embracing good works.

Taking a lead, Deulasahi puja committee has spared some time and funds for the inmates of an orphanage. At least 15 inmates (all boys) of Swami Bichitrananda Kalyan Ashram of Dagarpada here had a wonderful experience yesterday, when the puja committee decided to take them on a pandal-hoping spree to enjoy the Cuttack festivities.

With cooperation from a social organisation? Nababarsha Mahotsav Committee, Deulasahi puja panel took the orphans around the city and visited the puja pandals on a decorated open jeep. Ensuring that the orphans do not feel let down, the committee members had arranged new dresses and other wearing apparels on the occasion.

"In order to make sure that the orphans enjoy the Dusshera to the fullest, we arranged for them to purchase toys, play in swings and relish ice creams as they went around the city visiting as many as 50 pandals and offered prayers," Mahotsav committee chairman Prasanna Nanda said.

"It was really gratifying when various puja organisers felicitated the boys at their pandals and took special care for the orphans to offer puja before the deities. Boys in the age-group of 6 to 15 had wished to visit all the pandals which have sported silver tableaux (chandi medha)," Parbati Das, president of Deulasahi puja committee, said.

Das said the inmates of the orphanage were highly captivated when they saw the majestic welcome arches, spruced up puja pandals, sparkling silver tableaux and golden crowns of the deities at Choudhury Bazaar, Sheikh Bazaar, Mangalabag and Chauliaganj pandals. The organisers had arranged delicious meals for the boys in a famous restaurant of the city.

Although most of the orphans had been residing in Cuttack for over ten years now, they had no previous opportunity to witness the grand festival of the city.

It was only to bring smiles on their faces that we arranged to make the Durga puja special for them, said a puja organiser, adding that all inmates were orphaned during the killer super cyclone of 1999.