By our Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, Oct 17: With the arrival of Kati in the Assamese calendar this year, the State is gearing up to celebrate Durga Puja with pomp and gaiety. Guwahati is all decked up to welcome Devi Durga on Monday, when idols of the Mother Goddess will be installed on the sixth day of Devi Paksha.
This year, Devi Durga is arriving on horseback, believed to bring chaos and warfare in its wake and will depart on palanquin, signifying deaths on large scale. While astrologers are forecasting this year's Durga Devi will not bring much happiness to the people, the coming festival has already generated much excitement, with many community puja celebrations in the city budgeted at crores of rupees.
Around 500 big and small pujas are being organized in various parts of Guwahati, among which many are being organized for the first time. One of the oldest pujas in the city, Uzan Bazar Barowari Puja Mandap Samiti, which began 126 years ago, is organizing their puja in the traditiol way with a budget of Rs 4 lakh, of which Rs 60,000 has been spent on the idol. The committee informed that their idols are doted by local devotees, with idols already booked till the year 2040. Another old puja of the city Panbazar Satan Dhramasabha Harisabha Durga Puja Samiti is celebrating 101 years of their puja this year again in a traditiol manner.
The biggest and costliest puja in the entire Northeast, Rest Camp Kalibari Durgotsav Committee is going to conduct their puja with a budget of Rs 20 lakh. Their mandap is being designed as a combition of replicas of Victoria Memorial and British Church of London. The interior will be modeled as the king's palace of Punjab and the side walls will depict pictures of the gods who doted their powers to Devi Durga. The committee will also depict a 64-feet tall Statue of Liberty through electrical gate. The puja committee has brought 33 artistes from Kolkata to design the pavilion and theme. The DC office will also provide 20 officers with armed personnel for security during puja. The committee will also depute 34 private security persons, 50 volunteers, as well as deploy 24 CC TV cameras.
Another big budget puja of the city will be the Santipur Sluice Gate Sarbajanin Puja Committee which will spend Rs 16 lakh. Its mandap has been designed as a gigantic conch, earthen lamps and other puja equipments made with the stems of papaya, mushroom, wood apple and other tural material with the theme of a totally eco-friendly puja. The interior design will also depict use of such material to reduce pollution. They are also going to show the titanic battle between Devi Durga and Mahixaxur with electronic equipments, as well as the story of Tejimola. The artiste of these shows is Sattyaban Kalita of Palashbari, whereas, the artistes for the mandap were brought from Kolkata. They also arranged the security system as per DC office instructions, expecting lakhs of devotees during puja.
Other prominent puja committees in the city are also gearing up for the 4-day extravaganza with big budgets, including Bamunimaidan Kalibari Durga Puja Committee, yantara Camp Durga Puja Committee, Aathgaon Sarbajanik Durga Puja Committeee, Guwahati Sarbajanin Durga Puja Samiti and Beltola Lakkhi Mandir Durga Puja Colmmittee. Kalibari Puja committee will depict the earthquake of Nepal with their mandap designed as a Buddhist temple on their 46th puja, under the direction of artiste Jyoti Shankar Bhattacharya.
yantara Camp Committee will depict an ethnic Assamese village with the theme of Adarxa Gaon, which will be totally eco-friendly with the use of origil houses of earth and bamboo, paddy field, weaving looms and other traditiol scenes of a village prepared by local people. The committee will also clothe the idol with mekhela sador.
Aathgaon puja committee will depict the ancient Assamese tantra mantra of Mayong, the tradition of human sacrifice, with the mandap designed as an old haveli to create awareness against superstitions among the people. The artistes have been brought from Kolkata while local residents are also pitching in.
Guwahati Sarbajanin Puja committee will depict the Vaishno Devi temple as a 70 feet high mandap at Latasil field, prepared by artistes from Kolkata. The Durga idol will be placed in the temple on the hill.
Lakkhi Mandir Committee will depict six different themes made with waste materials like the war between Durga devi and Mahixaxur, a gigantic Mahadev who will give blessings to devotees, an elephant spreading perfume among devotees, bike stunts and Tom and Jerry cartoon. The committee will also depict the floods in the State, where Devi Durga will help people with a boat ride by Mahixaxur.
Apart from these costlier pujas, there are other pujas with budgets ranging from Rs 7 lakh to 3 lakhs like Basistha Chariali Kundil gar Sarbajanin Durga Puja, Rehabari Beelpar Durga Puja committee, New Field Durga Puja Committee, Nepali Mandir Durga Puja committee, Chatribari Sarbajanin Durga Puja Samiti, Aathgaon Aloo Gudam Sarbajanin Durga Puja Samiti and others.
Kundil gar Puja committee will conduct their puja in traditiol way and will release a souvenir on completion of 25 years by former governor of Meghalaya RS Mushahari and also feature puppet shows.
Beelpar Puja committee's Durga idol has been made with paddy and husk by Nritya Das of gaon. New Field Puja committee will embellish their idol with origil gold orments weighing around 400 grams. Nepali Mandir Puja committee will conduct their puja in traditiol Nepali way, clothing their idols with Nepali garments. Chatribari Puja committee's Durga idol will be 14 feet high, made from watches and CD cassettes by Sanjay Chand of Kokrajhar while the mandap has been designed as a pyramid 30 feet high and 50 feet long at the base. Asthgaon Aloo Gudam puja committee's eight feet tall idol of the goddess has been made from ice-cream spoons.
Meanwhile, the Kamrup DC office and the police department are ready with special service and measures to control the festival crowd. The DC's office has instructed puja committees about their do's and don'ts, while planning to hand out Green Puja award to the puja committee that celebrates Durgotsav in the best eco-friendly manner this year.