Durga Puja celebrations in the Millennium City assumed feverish pitch on Monday with thousands of people thronging the puja mandaps and taking part in the Maha Ashtami rituals. The mandaps, where the Mryunmayi Durga is being worshipped, were chock-a-block with devotees, who offered prayers to Mother Goddess.
There are around 155 puja mandaps in Cuttack this year with over 70 worshipping the Mother in Durga form and the rest as Parvati in the company of Hara or Lord Shiva.
As many as 15 mandaps have been decorated with silver tableaux (chandi medha) while several have made golden additions in the form of crown and ornaments for the deities.
Governor Murlidhar Chandrakant Bhandare was among the prominent visitors to Cuttack on Monday evening. He visited several puja mandaps including Chauliaganj, Jobra, Kanika Chhak, Choudhury Bazaar, Chandni Chowk and Khan Nagar.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is also set to keep his Dussehra date with the millennium city and would be touring as many as 37 puja mandaps on Wednesday. He is scheduled to take part in the puja celebrations at Balikuda, Gopalpur, Nuapada, Chauliaganj, Nua Bazaar, Khan Nagar, CDA, Bidanasi, Shaikh Bazaar, Binod Behari, Chandni Chowk, Choudhury Bazaar, Buxi Bazaar, Mangalabag, Ranihat, College Square, Malgodown and Badambadi among a host of other places in the City and its outskirts.
Elaborate security arrangements have been made by the Commissionerate Police to ensure smooth conduct of the festival. As many as 45 platoons of armed police and two companies of CRPF have been deployed along with 400 officers to maintain order. The police have set up main aid posts at six places and subsidiary aid posts at 22 places.
Manned by an officer in the rank of DSP, the main aid posts would function as control rooms and communication centres with special units of security forces and patrolling units at its disposal.
With the City set to witness congregation of lakhs over the four days, the Commissionerate Police has imposed one-way traffic to ensure smooth movement of the vehicles and avoid congestions on important throughfares from Monday to Thursday. With Dussehra being celebrated on Wednesday, the immersion ceremony would be held on Thursday.