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Since 1st March, 1999
 
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Too short for fervour & fun

Siliguri, Oct. 11: Dressed in their best, and with a fine weather to match, residents here had but one complaint: the Pujas were too short and the timing for the Mahashtami anjali had been too early in the morning.

'Not only that, it lasted only for an hour within which almost 250 people had to offer flowers at our Puja pandal,' said Dipti Saha.

She is among the several volunteers of Baghajatin Park Sarbojonin Durgotsav Committee who have been getting up at 4 am to prepare the various paraphernalia for the day's ceremonies.

'We had to hurriedly finish off the Ashtami puja and make preparations for Navami,' she said. Ashtami is also the day when Kumari Puja is celebrated. A slightly-bewildered Debolina Ganguly, aged just seven, was all decked up for the purpose at Sri Ramakrishna Vivekananda Society off Second Mile on Sevoke Road. The puja lasted for an hour and went off well, said Gauranga Das, one of the organisers.

As dusk fell, the curtains went up on the crowd hopping from one pandal to another. With several traffic restrictions, most pandal hoppers were travelling on foot.

'Tonight is the night for the main festivity, and we have deployed adequate forces,' said additional superintendent of police Tripurari.

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