Demon god Ravan is being put together by craftsmen from Odisha in Sonari on Thursday. Picture by Bhola Prasa
Ravan Dahan in Sonari promises to be bigger this year with organisers deciding to make up for last year’s low-key show with spectacular fireworks courtesy a crack team of artisans from Odisha.
Ram Mandir Ravan Dahan Samiti is going all out to fulfil its promise of a grand bonfire but members insist it will not be at the cost of traditional rituals, the hallmark of the annual event.
Last year, the celebrations were curbed because of a safety concern. An open drain at the Sonari Ram Mandir ground proved to be a hazard compromising security of the crowd of over 50,000.
However, this year, the samiti has fixed the problem and covered the 25-feet long drain with plywood.
“Last year, we approached Jusco about the drain. But, nothing happened. So, we thought of fixing it ourselves. This year is special because we have got craftsmen from Odisha who are working day and night and ensure Ravan is ready by October 13,” said Manoj Pandey, president of the samiti.
As many as 11 craftsmen from Cuttack are working to build Ravan, using special fireworks for the Sonari celebrations. Although Jamshedpur hosts another Ravan Dahan at Bagunhathu, Sonari’s is the oldest and more spectacular of the two.
The Cuttack group of artisans has been in business for decades. With the weather holding out a threat, it is taking special care to ensure that the festivities do not take a hit.
“I am in this business for the past 20 years. We will add colour to Ravan this time. There will be bombs and attractive crackers. So when Ravan burns, he will also showcase designer crackers that are sure to be a hit among children,” said Santosh Kumar Naik, team leader.
Ravan Dahan has been an annual feature at the Ram Mandir ground since in 1958. In the last five decades, committees organising the event have changed, but the old world charm of the bonfire hasn’t.
This year, the budget for the one and-a-half-hour event is over Rs 2 lakh. The firecrackers alone is costing Rs 45,000. Like every year, the samiti expects a crowd of about 50,000.