Cuttack: Hectic preparations have begun for the 10-day religious function of Durga Puja in the Silver City of Odisha. The festival will begin from September 29 and is scheduled to conclude on October 8.
A number of massive ‘pandals’ are being built for Durga Puja celebrations across the Millennium City. Members of various puja committees are working overtime to finish work on pandals in time.
Artists are engaged in giving the final shape to idols of Goddess Durga and demon king Mahishasur round the clock at various places in the city. While artisans are on their toes to make attractive idols for the altars, tent-house workers have been busy to give shape to massive welcome arches and light gates on the streets, lanes and by-lanes of the pandals.
There are over 100 puja mandaps in the city where idols of Goddess Durga, Lord Hara and Devi Parbati are worshipped.
In the Silver City of Cuttack, Durga Puja is unique in more ways than one. While the neighbouring State of West Bengal hosts the autumn festival with theme-based pandals and idols, Odisha’s Millennium City of Cuttack decorates the Mother Goddess with gold and silver.
The Durga idols are usually 20-ft-high and they are accompanied by even taller backdrops (Silver tableaux).
The price rise of gold has never been a deterrent for the Durga Puja Committees in Cuttack who make it a point to decorate the majestic tableaux elaborately with silver filigree work, known as Chandi Medha in local parlance, and idols of Goddess Durga, Lord Ganesh, Kartik, Goddess Lakshmi and Saraswati with gold jewellery and crowns every year. Cuttack is known worldwide for its silver filigree craft and filigree artisans who have created several masterpieces with impeccable artistry in the past. Durga Puja is also an occasion for these artisans to showcase their craftsmanship.
Dussehra is one of the major Hindu festivals. It is celebrated because Shri Ram killed the demon king Ravana after a 9 day battle with him and freed his wife, Goddess Sita, from Ravana’s captivity. On this very day, Goddess Durga killed the demon Mahishasur, and so, this day is also celebrated as VijayDashmi.