Bhubaneswar: After an enthralling start, the Durga Puja spirit soared on Tuesday, marking Maha Saptami, day two of the Puja, as thousands of devotees, adorned in their best, hit the streets across Odisha.
The Rasulgarh Durga Puja pandal in Bhubaneswar has been attracting the city people with its unique concept.
The pandal of Rasulgarh puja is a replica of the Royal Albert Hall of London. A plethora of artificial gemstones are glittering in the yellow background of the pandal.
Around 50 Kolkata-based artisans made the pandal in 45 days, informed Rasulgarh Durga Puja Parichalana Committee secretary, Japan Routray. The width of the pandal is 120 feet and the height is 80 feet, he added.
The artisans had to work day and night to complete the work, said Japan.
The idol of Goddess Durga has been made by artisans from Cuttack. The height of Goddess Durga is 18 feet and that of Medha is 25 feet. “This is the 26th year that the committee has been organising Durga Puja in Rasulgarh. We are planning to make a silver Medha from next year,” said Japan.
For security purposes, we have installed as many as 30 CCTV cameras in the Puja ground and 10 volunteers have been constantly monitoring all the activities. We also have 100 volunteers, who are committee members to help the visitors, said Japan.
For the senior citizens and differently-abled people, two wheel chairs along with volunteers are available in the Mandap, he added.
Police personnel have also been deployed at the pandal for the smooth conduct of the Puja.
We also have free parking facility in the ground, said Japan.
In Meena Bazar, special food stalls of different districts of Odisha have been set up. Among the dishes being sold are puffed rice and mutton from Baripada. Besides, there are joy rides and toy shops for the children and sitting arrangement for the elderly.
We had Bhajan Samaroha on Shasthi, said Japan. Melody groups from Bhubaneswar, Berhampur and Cuttack will perform on Saptami, Ashtami and Navami respectively.
Star night programme will be held on Dashami. Both Ollywood and Bollywood singers and actors will participate.
We have not been organising Ravan Podi for the past four years as a measure to control environmental pollution. Visitors used to come to the pandal to see Ravan Podi on Dashami. Instead of organising Ravan Podi, we are conducting a star night programme for their entertainment.
We will conduct the Bhashani Yatra individually, instead of joining with any other group. We will bring many traditional instruments like Jodi Sankha and Joda Ghanta. Folk dances like Ghumura and Gotipua will also be performed.
Prasad of Goddess Durga will be given on Saptami. Khichdi prasad will be given to the visitors on Saptami. Charu Arna will be given on Ashtmi. Likewise, Kheer and Pitha (sweet cakes) will be given on Navami. We will give Dahi Pakhala as prasad on Dashami, informed Japan.
“We have invested Rs 35 to 40 lakh in all these arrangements,” said Japan.
There were a large number of visitors on the first day of Durga Puja, i.e. on Sashthi.