The five-day long Durga puja celebrations came to an end on Thursday with around 100 big and small puja committees bidding adieu to Goddess Durga through the elaborate immersion procession arranged collectively by the puja committees.
The city witnesses two major congregations of the Durga idols from across the city before the immersion procession starts. One of the meeting points for the puja committees is near Saheed Nagar puja pandal. Around 25 major pandals like Saheed Nagar, Rasulgarh, Jharpada, Old Station Bazaar and many more meet here before the procession. Around 25 Durga puja committees have collectively formed Bhubaneswar Bhasani Utsav Samiti that conducts the immersion procession from Saheed Nagar.
All the committees had been asked to gather at the meeting point between 4 pm and 5.30 pm. After all the Durga ‘medha’ had gathered, a lottery was drawn to choose which committee would lead the procession. The ceremony that started from Saheed Nagar went towards Master Canteen and ended at Rajmahal. From there, all the idols proceeded towards either Kuakhai river or Daya river. Bhasani Utsav Samiti secretary Harish Prasad Ratha said the procession might continue till Thursday midnight or beyond that.
People started thronging both the sides of Janpath and the Saheed Nagar pandal as early as 4 pm, eager to catch one last glance of Goddess Durga. The traffic police had closed off one side of Janpath towards Rajmahal, prior to the procession.
Another major meeting point was Nayapalli where Rajadhani Surakhya Mandir Samiti supervised the immersion procession. Around 20 puja committees assembled at Nayapalli from where they started their procession. “Even though we have a lottery system to decide the line-up, Jhadeswari Durga idol will lead the procession and the Nayapalli puja committee will be at last as they are organisers’’ said Nayapalli Puja committee treasurer Shatrughan Behera.
The procession from Nayapalli goes through CRP road, Unit 8 DAV School, Siripur road till Medical Square. It ends there and then the idols proceed towards Kuakhai river for immersion. A major part of the route was closed off for about an hour for smooth flow of the procession.
“This year, we have arranged for a crane that would immerse the idols instead of just throwing them into the river,” explained Behera.