Devotees revel in Puja spirit – 102-foot idol to remain at pandal after Dashami on popular demand


Devotees view the Bishnupur idol in Guwahati on Friday

Guwahati/Nalbari, Sept. 29: Those who have not seen the record-attempting 101.7-foot Durga idol at Bishnupur here can take heart; the Puja committee has decided to keep it for another seven days after Dashami tomorrow.

Puja revellers tried to visit as many pandals as possible because of inclement weather and Bishnupur was one among the 611 Pujas of the city that topped their list. It drizzled this evening, dampening the mood, but the number of revellers and the traffic increased as night advanced. A cloudy day with sporadic showers at late noon also dampened the spirits of Puja revellers in Dhubri.

People made their way to Bishnupur to have a glimpse of the bamboo idol designed by cine and theatre art director Nuruddin Ahmed. Work on the idol, made from 5,600 bamboo sticks and 200 japis, started on August 1 and 80 per cent of it was completed when a storm destroyed most of it on September 17.

The idol is trying for a place in Guinness World Records as the “tallest bamboo sculpture” and the “tallest Durga idol” in the Limca Book of Records.

Speaking to The Telegraph, Ahmed said, “The different stages of construction were recorded on video and photographs were submitted to the Guinness World Records authorities as per guidelines. The deputy commissioner deployed senior officials to record the height. Many people could not visit because of heavy rush during the Puja days and the committee has decided to keep the idol standing for seven more days after Dashami”.


Little girls during Kumari Puja at Kamakhya temple in Guwahati on Friday

Traffic bar

The Kamrup (Metro) district administration has imposed traffic restrictions for Dashami tomorrow and the entire stretch of the riverside road – from Bharalumukh to Panbazar – will be off-limits for vehicles other than those carrying idols. Kasomari ghat, near Fancy Bazar, has been readied for immersion of around 300 idols on Dashami. Around 200 more will be immersed in the Brahmaputra from Pandu ghat a day after Dashami.

The Dhubri district administration has directed all the Puja committees to follow strict guidelines with regard to the route of the procession and adhere to timing as well as to keep control of the people who would take part in the immersion procession. Puja committees have been asked to control revellers and devotees from indulging in any untoward activities.


A gold themed pandal in Silchar. Pictures by UB Photos

Lakhs visit Belsor: Around five lakh people visited the Bileswar Devalay at Belsor, 12km from Nalbari town, in lower Assam, during Mahanavami today.

Bileswar Devalay, a unique shrine of lord Shiva, is one of the most ancient shrines in the Northeast and people visit it with great reverence for the prevailing myths and legends. The entire vicinity is considered a sacred complex as it is replete with supernatural events.

Mahanavami at Bileswar Devalay is characterised by buffalo sacrifice by people belonging to different strata of society. Along with the general sacrifice of goats and ducks, the sacrifice of buffalos has drawn the attention of animal rights activists.

The religious rituals taking place at the devalay are being studied by a team of research scholars from folklore research department of Gauhati University, headed by eminent folklorist Prabin Ch. Das and director of Anundoram Borooah lnstitute of Language and Art and Culture Dilip Kr Kalita.

Devotees from all religious sects visit the temple, which has added a secular flavour to its history. Devotees also flocked Kamakhya temple and offered traditional sacrifices to goddess Durga during Navami today.

Additional reporting by Mukesh Kumar Singh in Dhubri

ALI FAUZ HASSAN and RAJESH KAKATI Telegraph India

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