Bhubaneswar: It is that time of the year when festivity, merriment and religiosity take over. With ‘cotton-ball’ clouds floating in the blue sky, the beat of drums mixed with popular melodies filling the air, and frenzied last-minute shopping, Odisha looks set to indulge itself in Durga Puja from today.
Be it the kids excited about their first pandal-hopping or youngsters decked-up in brand-new clothes, everyone has a sparkle of happiness in their eyes as the five-day festivity truly transcends the barriers of religion and transforms into a celebration of life.
The streets are decorated with lights, colourful billboards and giant entry gates of different community pujas. Shops look busy and the restaurants welcome the gastronomes with mouth-watering dishes.
Security in the cities and suburbs has been bolstered with the installation of CCTV camera watchtowers. Extra security personnel have been deployed to prevent any breach of peace, and to control the rush and man the traffic.
According to Hindu mythology, Goddess Durga, accompanied by her four children – Ganesh, Kartik, Lakshmi and Saraswati – descends on the Earth every year to visit her parents to fight evil. This is the occasion that the puja celebrates.
Durga, the slayer of the demon Mahishasura, comes astride her lion and wields an array of weapons in her 10 hands in a symbolic representation of “Shakti”, or woman power.
The puja rituals begin with “Shashti” or the sixth lunar day – and culminate on “Dashami” (Dussehra).