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Puja revelry in Barak Valley

- Innovation grabs eyeballs

Silchar, Oct. 20: Durga Puja got off to a resounding start in Barak Valley in south Assam from today.

After weeks of hectic preparations to deck up Goddess Durga, her family members and the pandals, and a frenetic shopping spree by the people, the Puja started off with Devi Bodhon this evening. For the next four days, the most innovative artistic flourishes, décor and lighting will be on show.

There are 911 community Pujas in Barak valley this year. However, Puja veterans have singled out a few Pujas in the three districts of Cachar, Karimganj and Hailakandi.

One of the best Pujas in this town is that of All Medical Sales People Puja Committee. This year, it has crafted the idols using small white homeopathic bottles. Sagar Roy, one of the artisans, said they had used about 1.2 lakh bottles.

The pandal constructed by Tarapur Sarbajanin Durgapuja Committee (Busstand) here is a replica of Lucknow’s Ramakrishna math. Bamboo, thermocol and chiselled timber have been used to create the 70ft long x 75ft wide pandal. An illumination of a steaming train on the huge gate of the pandal erected by Itkhola Durgabari Puja Committee here promises to be one of the highlights this year. It symbolises the unfinished task of the railways to convert the metre gauge track to this town into a broad gauge.

Puja-goers in Hailakandi town will definitely make a beeline for the Puja organised by the all-women Hailakandi Sarbajanin Mahila Durga Puja Committee. Its president, Nipu Paul, said all the chores of Puja will be undertaken by women, barring the deployment of priests.

The district administrations have made elaborate security arrangements to ensure peace and discipline during the Puja festivities. Cachar deputy commissioner H.K. Dev Mahanta rounded up 31 illicit liquor sellers to ensure a trouble-free Puja.