Sunday, June 23, 2024

Durga Puja begins

The five-day-long Durga Puja, the biggest annual religious festival of the Hindus, begins today through Sashthi puja. All puja mandaps (pavilion) in the capital and other parts of the country are prepared for the celebration. The artisans are busy giving the finishing touches to the idols and organisers doing the last minute decoration and lighting works of the mandaps.
All temples and houses of the Hindus wore a colourful look on the occasion of Durga Puja, the worship of the Hindu goddess of power and peace.
The celebration will begin with Bodhan ritual (the process of infusing life into the idol) today and end with the immersion of idols in rivers or other water bodies after Dashami Puja on October 6, said Pradip Kumar Chakrabarty, shebait (chief executive) of Dhakeshwari National Temple yesterday.
The main puja mandaps in the capital are at Dhakeshwari National Temple, Jagannath Hall of Dhaka University, Ramakrishna Mission, Ramna Kali Mondir, Siddheshwari Kali Mondir, Tanti Bazar and Shankhari Bazar as well as Dhanmondi, Gulshan, Banani and Uttara.
About 28,000 mandaps have been erected across the country with 199 mandaps in the capital alone for puja celebration, said Mohanagar Sarbojaneen Puja Committee and Bangladesh Puja Udjapon Parishad.
Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) Commissioner Benazir Ahmed yesterday told reporters that they have taken all-out preparations for ensuring safety of puja mandaps and visitors during the festival.
“We did not get any information of untoward incidents in the city until now and hope the festival will be celebrated safely with cooperation from all,” he said at Dhakeshwari Temple while checking out the security measures taken there.
Bangladesh Puja Udjapon Parishad and Mohanagar Sarbojaneen Puja Committee have set up a monitoring cell inside the temple. DMP also set up a similar cell there to monitor puja activities.
Mohanagar Sarbojaneen Puja Committee sources said Tk 1.50 crore was allocated for puja celebration across the country.
Expressing dissatisfaction over the poor allocation, Subrata Chowdhury, president of Bangladesh Puja Udjapon Parishad, said “the allocation is insufficient and we demand budgetary allocation for Durga Puja.”
Meanwhile, different socio-cultural organisations including Vivekananda Shiksha O Sangskriti Parishad and Suhrid of Dhaka University have distributed new cloths among the poor and orphans on the occasion of Durga Puja.
The origin of Durga Puja can be traced back to the 15th century. Interestingly, with the ascent of Mughals, Durga puja became more popular and grand celebrations, gala feasts and huge fanfare became the major attraction.
As a festival, Durga Puja was first organised by Raja Kangshanarayan of Taherpur in Rajshahi in the month of Aswin (autumn) in the Bengali year 887.
It is believed that goddess Durga decended on earth following prayers by King Kangsa. Marking the occasion, the first Durga worship was held at Taherpur king’s palace.
According to Hindu Mythology, Rama, elder son of king Dasharatha, had earlier offered the puja in autumn to seek blessings from the deity to save people from the repression and misrule of Lanka Raj Ravana.
With her blessings, Rama destroyed the kingdom of Ravana.

-With The Daily Star input

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