BY OUR STAFF REPORTER
GUWAHATI, Sept 26: The festival of Durga Puja is filly upon us in all its glitz and glamour. The streets of the city have been bejeweled with colourful lights and craftily decorated pandals, thereby adding a touch of glamour to the festivities.
However, while the 550 odd pujas in and around Guwahati battle it out for the various accolades such as best pandal, best lighting, etc., a couple of pujas have shunned the glitz and glamour altogether in favour of a strictly traditiol approach.
One of them is the Uzanbazar Barowari Puja Mandap Samiti, which was started in 1889 and is observing its 128th anniversary this year. The other one is the Hari Sabha Puja which is observing its 103rd anniversary and was started in the year 1915.
The Barowari Puja was origilly conceptualized by the late Ahom Swargadeo Ghakanta Singha in his royal palace (Raj Howli) in 1821. Later in 1889, the puja was formally initiated for the masses by the public, priest Arun Sharma informed this reporter of this.
On the other hand, the Hari Sabha Durga Puja too has a similarly deep-rooted history. Since its inception in 1915, the idols of this Puja have been sculpted by three consecutive generations of the same family. This year, they were sculpted by artisan Aku Paul. Even the priests conducting the pujas for the past three generations belong to the same family of ‘purohits’. Not only that, even the food offered as ‘bhog’ is being cooked by the same family of cooks for the last two generations.
In a day and age where tradition is often neglected in favour of all that is trending and fashioble, these two pujas proudly stand out from the crowd by rooting themselves firmly in what constitutes the very essence and ethos of Durga Puja.