Reported by Santosh Jagdev
Bhubaneswar, Oct 3:
Puja Committees in the Odisha capital are gearing up to observe the Ravan Podi Utsav (setting the demon on fire ) with much fanfare tomorrow as the Dussehra festival draws to a close.
With the Ravan Podi, the focus shifts from worshipping the Goddess to the elimination of the demonic forces through a spectacle of pyrotechnics.
Huge and tall effigies of the ten-headed Ravan, ‘the king of demons’ and his brother Khumbhkarna are ready to be torched on the Bijaya Dashami.
Ravan Podi is celebrated in a big way at 7 places in the city- Housing board colony, Chandrasekhapur, Nayapalli, Old Town, Jharpada, Saheed Nagar and Rasulgarh.
The Nayapalli Puja Samiti, which is organising the Ravan Podi for the 27th year, will erect an 80-feet tall Ravan effigy at the Kasturba High School ground, opposite the puja pandal. This is the tallest among all the effigies in the city, Pabitra Mohan Behera, president of the Puja Samiti, said.
He said last year the effigy of the demon was 60 ft high but this year they decided to make it bigger to attract more people.
“We have a budget of Rs 3 lakh for the Ravan Podi this year. This will be followed by a fireworks competition in which fireworks experts from Nayagarh, Balipatna, Sunakhala and Patrapada will be taking part,” Behera added.
Similarly Rasulgarh Durgapuja Parichalana Committee has constructed a 55-feet high Ravan effigy, prepared by local artisans. The Committee will also host a pyrotechnics competition The fireworks teams will be brought from Berhampur, Salepur, Cuttack and Jatni and the entire Ravan Podi show will cost them Rs 4 lakhs.
The Saheed Nagar Durga Puja Samiti (SNDPS), which has been organising Durga Puja for the last 38 years, will set two effigies- one of Ravan and his brother Kumbhkarna- on fire during the Ravan Podi show.
“We have prepared two effigies of Ravan and his brother Kumbhkarna fitted with artistic fireworks. Expert cracker-makers from Jajpur and Sivakasi will work together to make it a memorable show, said Sachidananda Rath, president of SNDPS, adding, a budget of Rs 3.5 lakhs has been earmarked for the event.
Rath said while the height of the Ravan effigy is about 50 feet high, it’s 45 ft for Kumbhakarna. The effigies have been preapared by artisans from the Old Town area of the city.
Union Minister Jual Oram is expected to be the chioef guest at the Ravan Podi celebrations organised by the Housing Board Puja Committee, informed the president of the Committee Suresh Chandra Mohapatra. ” The Union minister will inaugurate the Ravan Podi Utsav by torching the 40 feet tall effigy to mark the 25th year of our Durga Puja celebrations.
Rajkishore Mohapatra, a veteran artisan from the Old Town said the effigies require huge bamboo structures, which are then covered with several layers of cloth and paper. “It takes my family at least 10 to 12 days to prepare these structures,” he said.