Durga Puja is an annual festival that celebrates worship of the Hindu goddess Durga all over Odisha. It refers to all the six days observed as Mahalaya, Shashthi, Saptami, Ashtami, Navami and Vijayadashami. The dates of Durga Puja celebrations are set according to the traditional Hindu calendar.
Durga Puja is celebrated in two different ways in Odisha. In Shakti peethas (temples of goddess) the Durga Puja is observed with proper rituals for 10 to 16 days known as Shodasa Upachara, which starts from 7 days earlier to Mahalaya called as Mulastami and ends on Vijayadashami/Dussehra. Goddess Durga is also worshipped by devotees in different pandals across the state. The pandals are decorated with beautiful decorative.
The largest Pujas are held in Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Balasore, Sambalpur and Rourkela.
With just a few days to go for the festival, activities have reached a feverish pitch as Bhubaneswar community puja organisers compete to present newer themes. The list is endless and mind boggling – from chariots of Lord Ram and Ravana to majestic temples and from Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book to ISKCON temple in Mayapur, Kolkata. To implement these themes, puja committees trust Midnapur artisans for their expertise in giving shape to pandals besides breathing life into the idols.
The millennium city Cuttack is set to go green this Durga Puja with solar lights replacing the conventional power-guzzling illumination systems at many top mandaps.
In a bid to cut down on the use of electricity and promote green energy, the district administration has pitched for installation of solar lighting systems at the mandaps. About 30 mandaps, including 20 in Mahanagar zone and 10 in Purbanchal zone, have been identified for the purpose.
Durga Puja festival will begin on October 10. Immersion ceremony of the deities would be held on October 15.