| Devotees bring a Durga idol for immersion at Devi Ghat on the Kathajodi river in Cuttack. Picture by Badrika Nath Das |
Cuttack/Bhubaneswar, Oct. 25: Durga Puja came to an end yesterday with the immersion of the idols amidst tight security.
Lakhs of devotees thronged the roads to bid adieu to the goddess. The idols were taken to the water bodies in processions that filled the air with sounds of the beatings of gongs, drums and cymbals.
Besides, several puja committees had hired artistes from various parts of the state and outside to perform during the immersion.
In Cuttack, the route leading to Devi Ghat (the main immersion ghat) was packed to its full capacity as the puja committees reached the venue in grand processions with their idols and lowered them into the Kathajodi river. As many as 155 puja committees had sought permission from the police this year to immerse their idols at the Devi Ghat.
In Bhubaneswar, around 60 puja committees out of 170, who had sought permission for the puja, gathered at three places — Saheed Nagar, Nayapalli and Chandrasekharpur — with their idols, which were immersed in Kuakhai and Daya rivers and Gangua nullah. While 25 puja committees gathered with their idols at Saheed Nagar, 19 assembled at Nayapalli and 11 congregated at Chandrasekharpur.
Assistant commissioner of police (traffic), Bhubaneswar, Binod Das said that vehicles had to be diverted on many roads. Those congregated at Saheed Nagar went to Rajmahal Square via Ram Mandir and Master Canteen Square. Those at Nayapalli went to Ganga Nagar via CRP Square, DAV School, Gopabandhu Square and Siripur. The committees gathered at Chandrasekharpur took out their procession up to Nalco Square.
“The serial numbers for the idols to join the procession was decided through lottery,” said Narayan Mohapatra, general secretary of Saheed Nagar Puja Committee.
The police made elaborate security arrangements for smooth conduct of the immersion ceremonies in the twin cities. Deputy commissioner of police, Bhubaneswar, Nitinjeet Singh said around 32 platoons of policemen were managing crowd and vehicular movements in the capital city.
Over 45 platoons of police forces were deployed to maintain law and order in Cuttack. One unit of Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force and three units of Odisha Fire Services were deployed at Devi Ghat to carry out rescue operations in case of any emergency.
“We undertook several steps for security and better crowd management during the puja,” said deputy commissioner of police, Cuttack, S. Praveen Kumar.
Special arrangements were also made for the security of the idols having gold and silver backdrops, said Kumar.
People thronged the twin cities even from neighbouring districts to witness the immersion ceremony.
“Dussehra is celebrated in Cuttack in a grand manner. My family has been witnessing the puja and immersion procession here for the last eight years,” said Debabrata Sahu, a visitor from Jagatsinghpur.