The small town of Jatni wore a bridal look with the arrival of Lord Ganesh. The rain and price hike of essential commodities could not dampen the spirit of the festival.
One among the few places across the country where Lord Ganesh is worshipped for 11 days, streets in Jatni witnessed milling crowds on Wednesday.
The history of Ganesh puja here dates back to more than a century, when one Dinabandhu Sahoo, a small-time shopkeeper, placed a clay idol of the Lord and began worshipping. The grandeur of the festival has only increased with the passage of time. As many as 50 Ganesh pandals have sprouted at important market places along with more than 200 small idols worshipped at private places.
Though not on the scale of Mumbai, the Ganesh puja is celebrated here on a massive scale. The special feature of the festival includes 60 to 70 ft high gates and 16 ft idols. These are built either by famous artisans from Kolkata and Cuttack or those in the town.
Massive idols of Lord Ganesh have been put up at pandals in Mahulgudia Chhaka, Thana Chhaka, Sitaram Chhaka, Raja Bazar, Golei Market, Bada Bazar, Fish Market, Hata Bajar, Kudiary Bazar, Hospital Square, Malgodown Square, Retang Colony, Loco Colony, Station Square, Accounts Colony and Traffic Colony.
These areas attracted the crowds with their colourful illumination, majestic pandals and best gate-way to the pandal.
Added to the festive mood are the artistes who earn a fast buck. The opera troupes and pala singers who come to the town during this time are on high demand.
Far from the din is Haribhaina Chhaka puja committee which has maintained the 53-year-old tradition. They celebrated puja with big idol of Lord Ganesh sans any attractive gate.
The committee organises ‘palas’ for about a week. The idols will be immersed on ‘Purnima’ day.
Meanwhile, the police administration is having a tough time maintaining law and order.