Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Sep 17:
Festive fervour gripped Odisha despite overcast conditions with devotees praying tof Lord Ganesh and Vishwakarma on the occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi and Vishwakarma puja across Odisha while celebrations began in western Odisha on the eve of the mass festival of Nuakhai.
Festive fervor prevailed across the state today at schools, colleges and other educational institutions where students’ teachers and students participated in the worship of Lord Ganesha with great enthusiasm. Devotees also performed puja to the elephant-headed Hindu god in their houses. The markets were abuzz with activity as men and women bought flowers, leaves, fruits and other puja items offered to Ganpati.
Apart from the Twin City, Ganesh puja was celebrated in Jatani where huge idols have been installed. Special illumination arrangements have also been made for evening darshan of the lord.
Various puja committees in Silver City and capital city have spent generously on the decoration of the pandals this year.
Special security arrangements have been made for the 11-day long festivities. Police personnel have been deployed at major points in the cities apart from manning khaki clad staff at the pandals.
Similarly, mechanical and engineering workshops also observed Vishwakarma puja at their workplace. The print houses also celebrated the day with obeisance to the deity followed by mass feasts among the employees.
On the other hand, the Western Odisha towns are agog with festive fervour on the eve of Nuakhai observed to welcome the new paddy crop.
The traditional Nuakhai festival is being celebrated in Odisha since ancient times.
Nuakhai is similar to Onam in Kerala, Bihu in Assam and Vaisakhi in Punjab. The famous festival is observed in the districts of Sambalpur, Sundergarh, Kalahandi, Bolangir, Bargarh, Sonepur, Deogarh, Jharsuguda and Boudh.
People organise the festival to welcome the new crop with family heads distributing new rice processed out of their first harvest after offering Navanna (rice) cooked with milk, sugar and other traditional food items to the deities.
Besides, the younger members of the families seek blessings from their elders and exchange greetings among themselves known as Nuakhai Bhet Ghat.
Notably, the annual event is an occasion of get-together for people residing outside their native places. They visit their homes to celebrate Nuakhai with family members.