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Fireworks bow before fiery Kali

- 20 must-watch pandals of dark goddess

Kali Puja, coinciding with Diwali, will see the benign form of Durga come back in her fierce avatar.

According to legend, goddess Kali, after slaying countless demons, including Raktabija, Chanda and Munda, goes on a furious rampage after the battle and stops only when she accidentally steps on divine consort Shiva.

So while Lakshmi and Ganesh are worshipped in homes during Diwali, Kali, with her tongue sticking out in embarrassment, a foot on Shiva’s prostrate form, is a sight to behold across 20 major pandals of Jamshedpur.

Unlike Durga Puja, instead of themes, tradition rules over pandals.

Like every year, the city’s major attraction is Young Boys’ Club in Telco, where the idol since 1976 has been a towering 22-25ft, making it the tallest Kali in and around Jamshedpur.

The club, stepping on its 37th year, got a big-ticket inauguration on Monday evening by state HRD minister Baidyanath Ram and East Singhbhum senior superintendent of police Akhilesh Kumar Jha.

“Our founder P.K. Ghosh dreamt about the huge idol. It is due to the blessings of the goddess that every year we manage to collect donations for the grand puja. This year, the bhog prasad will be 15 quintals in quantity,” said Pradeep Rajwar, club secretary.

He added 10 artisans from Kharagpur had come to make the idol right after Vijaya Dashami. “The idol costs around Rs 60,000. Our budget is Rs 5 lakh. The idol was made on a trolley for easy transport,” he said.

Other attractions include Sakchi’s Jail Chowk Kali Puja, Ranikuder Sarbajanin Kali Puja, Sonari West Kali Puja, Friends Association Club (Cable Company), KF2 Sarbojanin Kali Puja and Yuva Sangh of Farm Area, the last two in Kadma.

KF2 Sarbojanin Kali Puja Committee is celebrating its silver jubilee this year with cultural events on three consecutive days.

Kadma’s Yuva Sangh, a 32-year-old puja, has a unique draw for the devout. Priest Biswanath Patial, a Sanskrit teacher from Kharagpur, has been performing the rituals since inception. His clear and perfect pronunciation of mantras charms generations.

“The cost of the puja is about Rs 3 lakh, but we do not depend on door-to-door collection for our festivities,” said Ajay Kumar Thakur, treasurer.

Likewise, Jail Chowk Kali Puja committee members also said they were more dependent on committee members for funds and less on public donation. One of the biggest pujas of Sakchi, it has stepped into its 21st year.

“We fund items and distribute financial responsibility through lottery. The idol and bhog are two major expenses. It is considered auspicious if your name comes up,” said member Raj Kumar Srivastava.

Cable’s Friends Association Club, organising Kali Puja since the 1970s, banks on tradition. The puja starts around 11pm and follows all rituals.

But impatient crowds can’t seem to wait for Tuesday.

Revellers are already thronging Sonari West Kali Puja Committee, a landmark for 20 years, which inaugurated its pandal on Monday.


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