Puja pandals that were lively for the past one week on Thursday wore a deserted look after bidding adieu to Maa Durga. The festivities on Thursday spilled onto the streets as every puja committee took all measures to make the Goddess’s return journey equally spectacular as were the week-long Dussehra celebrations.
Adding colour to the immersion ceremony were folk musicians and dancers who were roped from across the State by the puja committees. Splendid processions with attractive backdrops, huge flags of different hues, folk dancers dancing to the tunes of traditional music were a treat for many visitors who thronged the streets to witness ‘bhasani’.
With High Court restricting use of blaring sound systems, puja committees preferred folk artistes to accompany their tableaux.
The city roads turned into visual treats as they were replete with folk dances like Godha Nacha, Naga Nacha, Sambalpuri, Gotipua, Kandhei Nacha, Kathi Nacha, Medha Nacha while the processions snaked their way to Kuakhai and Daya rivers for immersion.
While the Nayapalli Puja Committee, that celebrated its silver jubilee this year, brought in 20 troupes each from Sambalpur, Nimapara and Kendrapara to perform Sambalpuri, Ghoda Nacha, Naga Nacha and Sandha Nacha, Saheed Nagar Puja committee had 22 troupes of artistes from Kendrapara, Bilasuni and Niali.
The procession of Rasulgarh Puja Committee was a more elaborate one with the members roping in artistes from Puri, Raghurajpur, Sambalpuri and Kalahandi. “We arranged for around 30 troupes of Ghanta players, Ghumura dancers, Singha Baaza, Sambalpuri and Ghoda Nacha dancers who showcased their skills during the Bhasani,” Pradeep Barisal, member of the committee.
Similarly, Old Station Bazaar committee made its procession colourful with Bagha Nacha and Ghoda Nacha.
The occasion was equally fruitful for these artistes as each troupe earned between `15,000 and `50,000.
Besides the folk artistes from Odisha, Punjabi dhol players were much in demand. “These dhol players charge anywhere between `20,000 to `25,000 for playing during the procession,” said Basant Behera, member of the Nayapalli committee.