BHUBANESWAR: Puja organisers in the Capital City are leaving no stone unturned to match up to the expectations of lakhs of devotees who throng the pandals during Dussera seeking more grandeur with each passing year.
While around 500 small and big Puja committees have sought the district administration’s permission to organise the festival, the mandaps at Sahid Nagar, Jharpada, Old Station Bazar, Nayapalli and Rasulgarh are all set to be the biggest crowd-pullers.
Nayapalli Puja Committee has adapted a theme from Janaki Mandir at Janakpur in Mithila region of Nepal. The entire structure spanning 80 ft in height and 120 ft wide costs around `30-`35 lakh. It took 70 workers and artisans from Odisha and West Bengal more than two months to complete the structure.
This time, the medha (tableau) is being made with 60 per cent copper and palm leaves. It will be designed on the concept of offering prayers to Goddess Sita. The committee members have lit an oil lamp with an objective to restore peace between India and Pakistan, media committee in-charge Kedar Patnaik said.
The Sodasa Puja (16-day rituals) at Nayapalli mandap was started from September 23 and will conclude on Vijaya Dasami on October 11, Patnaik said.
The Sahid Nagar Puja Committee has made special arrangements to build a torana resembling the Swaminathan Temple at Ahmedabad in Gujarat. There are five big gates and 60 individual structures on the premises of the puja site. For the first time, a chandi (silver) medha will be prepared with at least 2.5 quintal silver, Puja Committee secretary Narayan Mohapatra said.
“This time, we expect footfall of more than four lakh devotees and have made special arrangements like deployment of 100 Special Police Officers and 200 volunteers including women. Our own ambulance will be ready with para-medical staff to attend to any eventuality,” Mohapatra said.
Located at the entrance of the City, the Puja at Rasulgarh holds a strategic value in terms of crowd and vehicular management.
The puja committee here has installed 16 CCTV cameras to monitor the flow of crowd and suspicious elements. The premises boasts of one of the largest Meena Bazar in the City during the festival.
More than 65 workers from Midnapore in West Bengal are engaged in building a Torana made up of silver, glass pieces, glass dust and bangles, president of Rasulgarh Puja Committee Pradip Bairal said.