Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Oct 23:
As Dussehra celebrations reached its last leg in Odisha, Ravan Dahan was celebrated with great fanfare this evening to commemorate the triumph of good over evil in over 300 places of the state.
The event, that marks the end of the nine day long Dussehra celebrations, was celebrated by setting aflame giant effigies of Demon King Ravan that were essentially packed with fire-crackers. Beyond the religious significance, the event was a huge attraction across all sections of visitors because of the attractive light and fire show.
The capital city of Bhubaneswar itself had Ravan Podi celebrated at 31 places this year; specials attractions being the Shahid Nagar, Jharpada, Nayapalli and Baramunda ones. The Rasulgarh Puja Committee this year cancelled its Ravan Podi event citing environmental hazards and lack of space and instead announced to donate the money to the underprivileged.
“Ravana Podi has been a big draw at our puja pandal since past 16 years. Ravan symbolizes evil and we burn his effigy as a tradition and also as a medium of entertainment. This year, we used a 70 ft Ravan and spent Rs 2 Lakhs to build it. Besides, we worked with the police, fire department and deployed 50 volunteer to ensure order during the two hour long event,” said Rama Chandra Ransingh, President of Baramunda Durga Puja Committee.
“Earlier, Ravana Podi used to be held only in three or four Durga Puja pandals in the city. But, over the years, the number of Ravana Podi programmes has increased to at least 25. Some organizers are also burn effigies of Kumbhakarna alongside Ravan on the occasion. This year we have orders to prepare eight Ravanas,” said Rajkishore Mohapatra who crafts these giant effigies for the Puja Committees.
The state police and fire services left no stones unturned to ensure that the festival passes off without a glitch.
“Out of the 172 puja pandals of Bhubaneswar, Ravan Podi was celebrated at 31 places. We had deployed 35 platoons force for the safety and security of the visitors. The office of the DCP and Fire department had been supervising the preparations since long. Extra forces were deployed for traffic regulation,” said Commissionerate Police Chief Rajendra Prasad Sharma.
Notably, in some of the places of the state including Jeypore, Ravan Podi was celebrated yesterday as Vijaya Dashami was celebrated yesterday.
Ravan Podi is celebrated on the occasion of Vijaya Dashami, which is considered the day of the victory of goddess Durga over the demon king Mahishasura after a nine-night, ten-day long battle. It is also believed that lord Ram killed demon king Ravan on the day after offering his prayers to Goddess Durga.