FROM A CORRESPONDENT
Hailakandi, Oct 12: Durga Puja was celebrated in all its traditiol fervour and gaiety in Hailakandi district.
More than 200 pandals were set up in the entire district. Heavy rush of devotees was witnessed at all puja pandals (marquees) in Hailakandi town, Lala, Katlicherra, Algapur, Panchgram and other rural areas as well during Mahasaptami and vami.
Asking the puja committees to ensure cleanliness, Deputy Commissioner Moloy Bora too called upon the people and requested them all to take pledge in this regard.
For five days, people went pandal hopping dressed in their best, celebrating the festival. Every year, Hailakandi town wears a very festive look and this year was no exception. The celebrations have grown over the decades, with budget shooting up. Stiff competition among puja committees in almost every gali (street) has ensured that organisers come up with the most ‘unusual’ of themes to grab eyeballs and trophies every year. This year the Hailakandi district administration decided to award trophies for best three pandals on the theme ‘go green eco-friendly puja’, asking the puja committees not to use paints laced with lead and chromium, varnish or toxic chemicals or thermocol to minimize the impact on environment.
Unlike other parts of the State, most of the pujas such as Durga Bari and Yuba Samiti have ushered in Durga Maa’s homecoming the traditiol Bengali way. From the main showpiece depicting idols of the divine family, to the religious rituals, decoration of pandals, food and performing artistes vis-à-vis baul singers coming all the way from West Bengal, dhaakis (drum beaters), everything spells rootedness in simplicity.
In the early hours of Vijay Dashami, rituals were performed amidst the chanting of hymns and Bengali married women smeared vermillion and prayed for long and vigorous life for their husbands. Immersion processions were taken out at around 4 pm and as many as 50 idols were immersed in Hailakandi’s Gandhi Ghat.
The almost two and a half km long procession traversed through the main thoroughfares of the town with men, women, young and old alike danced in gay abandon watched by multitude of onlookers on both sides of Old Hospital Road via SS Road leading to the immersion ghat. The immersion was carried out under the watchful eyes of SP Prabjyoti Goswami and senior officials of the civil and administration. The immersion that came to an end at around 1.15 am would have continued till the wee hours had it not been for former minister Gautam Roy’s bahini (brigade) who acted swiftly and adroitly in handling the huge sized idols. Roy himself supervised the immersion exercise with his son former MLA Rahul Roy in tow.
Immersion of idols also took place smoothly at immersion ghats at Lala, Katlicherra, Algapur and Panchgram. The traffic branch put in place a special route - one-way, no entry points and no parking zone - for smooth flow of puja processions and traffic.
The district administration ordered closure of all IMFL shops and licensed premises to maintain public peace and tranquility.
In a statement, Deputy Commissioner Moloy Bora thanked the puja committees and the general public for observing the Durga Puja in a disciplined and peaceful manner. “I thank one and all, including the officials for making the puja an-incident free one,” he added.