MAHA ASHTAMI TODAY
By our Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, Oct 20: With the idols of Devi Durga installed in marquees across the State on Monday on the occasion of Shasthi, puja festivities are reaching a crescendo as devotees flock to pay obeisance to the Mother Goddess. Maha Saptami on Tuesday was celebrated with devotiol fervor amid rituals and prayers, offerings and performing of sacrifices in shaktipeeths and temples, community and household pujas.
After the Mother Goddess was invoked and welcomed to earth with the chanting of Agomoni mantra and Chandi paath, the priests have started the main puja rituals, preparing round the clock for Maha Ashtami on Wednesday and Maha vami as well as Vijaya Dashami on Thursday. On the occasion of Maha Saptami today, religious sacrifice of pigeons, ducks, goats and other animals as well as vegetables like white gourds were performed in traditiol manner to seek the wellbeing of devotees.
In Guwahati, thousands of devotees made a beeline to puja mandaps, while many flocked to shaktipeeth Kamakhya, Ugratara and other temples since early morning on Tuesday for Maha Saptami prayers. Amid incantation of mantras, blowing of conch shells, ringing of bells, beat of dhaaks and ululation by female worshippers — earthen lamps were lit, incense sticks burnt and puja offerings made to seek the blessings of the Mother Goddess.
At noon, devotees partook of prasad and bhog with much bonhomie. The hubbub continued in the afternoon with puja committees organizing art, essay, music and other competitions for children. The gaiety spilled over in the evening as cultural programmes and ceremonial dances before the Goddess began, along with gara am, ojapali and other prayer functions.
Though the mercury was still above 30 degree Celsius on Tuesday, it had no effect on devotees and pandal-hoppers, clad in their new puja dresses and orments. To attract them, various puja committees have designed their pavilions around specific themes and arranged for decorative lighting that left the city glowing beautifully after dusk. Traffic srls soon developed as people spilled onto the streets with two-wheelers and cars, giving pedestrians a hard time.
This year, though Maha vami and Maha Dashami fall on the same day on Thursday (October 22), the city administration has decided to conduct immersion of idols on October 23. Many puja committees will therefore symbolically conduct the immersion on October 22 but will conduct the general immersion the next day to bid farewell to the Mother Goddess to her heavenly abode on Mount Kailash.
Across the length and breadth of Brahmaputra and Barak valleys, reports are coming in of Durga Puja being celebrated with great devotion and enthusiasm.