Festive fervour gripped Bhubaneswar as Maha Saptami rituals were performed in all the puja pandals on Wednesday. This year, as many as 7 best Durga Puja pandals have come up across the smart city. They are – Rasulgarh, Bomikhal, Jharpada, Old station square, Saheed Nagar, Nayapalli and Baramunda.
Durga puja this year will be relatively wet as the weatherman has predicted light to moderate rain across the state from Wednesday. “Most parts of Odisha will witness light to moderate rain from September 27 to October 1. One or two places in the state may have heavy rain. A cyclonic circulation over the west central Bay of Bengal will cause rain, which may intensify into a low pressure area,” said director of IMD’s Bhubaneswar Centre, Sarat Chandra Sahu.
“The celebrations so far have been by and large peaceful. Still we have kept close watch and deployed adequate police forces at vulnerable points,” said director-general of police R.P. Sharma.
Lakhs of people are expected to gather in Cuttack and Bhubaneswar to witness Durga Puja. The highest number of Puja pandals have been erected in Old Bhubaneswar, which is a known Shaivite centre.
Elaborate arrangements have been made to control traffic in the twin cities. Police sources said 172 pandals came up in Bhubaneswar this year, while 168 pandals were erected in Cuttack.
Extra security arrangements have been made near the pandals, where the idols have been decorated with gold and silver ornaments and filigree backdrops have been put in place.
To thwart any possible terrorist attack, the police have deployed two platoons of elite Special Operation Groups in Cuttack and one platoon in Bhubaneswar. The police have asked all the Puja committees to install CCTV cameras in the pandals.
Politicians and government employees took time off to enjoy the Puja holidays, while chief minister Naveen Patnaik has gone on a six-day visit to New Delhi.