Bhubaneswar: The most significant festival Durga Puja gripped Odisha with over 2,600 attractive pandals erected at different locations in all the towns.
While the sky is being reverberated with ‘chandi paath’ during day time, the night is dazzled with colourful lights and huge crowd visiting the pandals to have darshan of Maa Durga and enjoy the festival with friends and family members.
The Maha Saptami Puja of Goddess Durga was conducted at pandals with spiritual fervour yesterday and the Maha Ashtami rituals have started today. The devotees are found rushing to the pandals to seek blessings of the deity during ‘Sandhi Puja’ (transition period between eighth and ninth day of Durga Puja), which is the most significant period for the devotees, who have been on fasting.
This year, the Puja pandals are decorated with unique themes in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack twin city. While budget for decoration and festival at major Puja Mandaps has been estimated between Rs 30 lakh and 35 lakh each in the State capital, the puja is being held at small pandals at expenses of Rs 5 lakh.
Total Rs 50 crore has been spent in 326 Puja Mandaps in Cuttack and Bhubaneswar. Remaining 2,300 Puja Mandap committees have spent Rs 115 crore each.
If the budget of all the Puja Mandaps will be taken into account, it is believed to have crossed Rs 170 crore this year.
In Bhubaneswar, the Durga Puja is being held at 176 Puja Mandaps at expenses of Rs 30 crore. The ‘Chandi Medha’ at Sahid Nagar is the special attraction in the city.
Maa Durga is being worshipped at 160 fabulously decorated Puja Mandaps in silver city Cuttack at expenses between Rs 27 crore and 30 crore. The city remains in the top with ‘Chandi Medha’.
The puja is being conducted at 104 mandaps in Rourkela. Balasore tops the State in terms of districts organising the mega festival at highest numbers of 290 mandaps, followed by Ganjam with 193 mandaps.
In Kendrapara, the Durga Puja is being celebrated at 165 mandaps at expenses of Rs 5 crore. Nuapada district is organising Durga Puja at 90 mandaps and Nayagarh at 81 mandaps.
Similarly, the Goddess Durga is being worshipped at 93 pandals in Kalahandi, 73 pandals in Puri, 149 pandals in Jajpur, 61 in Keonjhar, 45 in Dhenkanal, 55 in Bhadrak, 46 in Angul, 22 in Khordha, 32 in Sundargarh, 29 in Gajapati, 91 in Balangir, 70 in Jagatsinghpur, 33 in Kandhamal, 54 in Sambalpur, 91 in Jharsuguda, 102 in Bargarh, 59 in Sonepur, 13 in Boudh, 40 in Nabarangpur, 55 in Koraput, 26 in Rayagada, 100 in Mayurbhanj and 10 in Malkangiri districts.
Besides, the nine-day-long Navaratri festival, which is an important feature of Durga Puja is being celebrated at temples and houses across the State with much fervour.