PATHSALA: Durga Puja celebration has started. This time, Goddess Durga is being worshipped amid strict COVID norms. Today is Maha Saptami, the seventh day of Durga Puja. It marks the beginning of the battle between Maa Durga and the evil Mahisasura. Devotees thronged the Pathsala Hari Mandir premises in the morning of Maha Saptami to offer pushpanjali to Goddess Durga, wearing masks and new clothes. Prayers were offered to the goddess for peace and tranquility.
LAKHIMPUR: Amid a sacred environment blended with the notes of Durga Vandana, the devotees in Lakhimpur performed the Maha Saptami Puja to worship the deity on Friday. However, the inclement weather, in addition to the strict guidelines of COVID-19 protocol, dampened the spirit of the people resulting in the thin crowd at the Puja venues on the day.
On Maha Saptami, Maa Kalratri, the seventh form of Devi Durga, is worshiped. Maha Saptami is one of the important days of Durga Puja celebration. The Maha Puja, which is also known as Great Ceremony, starts on Maha Saptami. The Maha Saptami begins with the bathing ceremony of Navapatrika, the nine plants, viz, banana, pomegranate, turmeric, jayanti, ashoke, bel, arum plant, colacassia and paddy. They are all tied together with a sacred thread and are taken to the river at pre-dawn for bathing. According to the mythology, during the war against the buffalo demon Mahishasur, Devi Durga created 'Ashtanayika' which were the eight goddesses for war. These eight goddesses of war and Devi Durga herself symbolize 'NavDurga'. The nine plants stand for each impression of the Goddess Durga, the eternal glorification of Shakti, the female power which symbolizes the victory of good over evil.
Devotees perform this Puja to protect them from all the evil forces and for happiness, luck, and prosperity in life. On the occasion, devotees were seen visiting the Panchanan Dewalaya, Baithawati Aai Than, Ma Padumani Aai Than and Neel Dewalaya, the noted Devi Peeths located under North Lakhimpur subdivision, and Sri Sri Iswari Harhi Dewalaya and Ma Manipuri Aai Than under Dhakuakhona subdivision. The Maha Astami Puja will be observed on Saturday following traditional rituals.
DEMOW: Devotees visited Puja pandals on the day of Maha Saptami Puja to seek blessings from Goddess Durga. The Saptami Puja was done as per traditional rituals by the priest and after that the aarti was performed. The COVID-19 pandemic has dampened the festive spirit. This year due to strict COVID protocol, there were no peppy beats of the dhak.