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Gajalaxmi Puja started in Dhenkanal

The famous Gaja Laxmi Puja started in Dhenkanal (Odisha) on Monday. The town is all aglitter with lakhs of devotees expected to throng various puja pandals to pay obeisance to the goddess of wealth during the 11-day festival.

This year 38 pandals, studded with innovative themes, have been erected to adorn equally beautiful idols. It seems every nook and corner of the town is prepared to welcome the Goddess of Wealth. In rural parts of the district, the number of puja pandals exceeds 70.

This year, Sri Sri Maudamani Raja Laxmi Puja Committee has special plans. It will be presenting a gold crown weighing 1.6 kg worth over Rs 35,000 lakh to the deity which has been crafted in exquisite filigree work. The puja mandap has already installed the chandi medha (silver backdrop) made of three quintal silver.

The ‘Chandi Medha’ in Meena Bazaar is an attraction here with the Goddess being adorned with priceless ornaments.

While the Station Bazar Puja Committee, which is celebrating 50 years of celebration this year, is also organizing the puja in a grand manner.

The ‘Seesh Mahal’ of popular Hindi movie ‘Mughal-e-Azam’ finds a place at the puja pandal at Ganesh Bazaar. This gate has been created at a cost of 2.5 lakh.
Dhenkanal Gajalaxmi Puja 2012
The oldest puja organizers in the city, Mahabir Bazar, are also expecting their pandal, modelled on the Kailash parvat, to attract a huge crowd.

The Jawahar Puja Samiti, famous for the idols comprising both Laxmi and Narayana here, has spent over Rs 4 lakh to design an intricate palace for the deities.

The Bus Stand Puja Committee, Kanchan Bazar, Bajar Chowk, Shanti Bazar, College Square and other places are also expecting a huge turnout.

Other puja pandals and gates of puja committees like Durga Bazar, Jubilee Town, Mahisapata, Kanchan Bazar, Baji Chowk and Kaibalya Bazar have been decorated elaborately.

The Laxmi Puja tradition in Dhenkanal dates back to 1923 but was stopped for reasons unknown till Meena Bazaar took the initiative in 1943. The puja attracts people from various religions and communities.

The other major attractions are the Palli Sabha and Dhenkanal Mahotsav. As per bazaar committee sources, more than 10,000 vendors from across the country have come to the town to sell their wares.

Over 10 lakh people are expected to throng Dhenkanal for a glimpse of the Goddess during the puja that will continue till November 8. Heavy security arrangements have been made to maintain law and order during the festival.

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