Guwahati, Saturday, October 12, 2013
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Puja festivities grip State
 GUWAHATI, Oct 11 - Following the ceremonial installation of the idols of Goddess Durga in the beautifully-decorated mandaps on Thursday, the celebrations got into the festive mood today, with the observance of Maha Saptami all over the State.

 In the city, temperatures have cooled a bit in the past few days, and this added to the enthusiasm of the devotees and puja-revellers alike. Big crowds jostled for space in markets such as Fancy Bazaar throughout the day, and by evening the crowds hit the street with gusto and started thronging the puja mandaps in their hordes.

While installation of the idols of Goddess Durga is done on the Maha Sasthi day – marking the beginning of the Goddess’s five-day earthly sojourn – the celebrations in the real sense of the term begin from the Maha Saptami day.

The 500-odd puja mandaps in the city and outskirts – decoratively illuminated right from their approach roads – lit up the city skyline, as they seemed to vie for attraction of the onlookers. If the exquisitely crafted Durga idols evoked awe and reverence, the dazzling illuminations heightened the festive spirit.

In keeping with the practice, many of the illuminations -- right from the approach roads and within the vicinity of the mandaps -- were innovative. They depicted a wide array of themes – from the devastating floods in Uttarakhand to the dengue outbreak in Guwahati – in a novel way. The appalling civic amenities of the city also got wide reflection across several puja mandaps.

The pujas at Beltola, Latasil, Maligaon, Athgaon, Binapani, Chandmari and Ganeshguri were among those that attracted the maximum crowds. Even the consequent traffic congestions had little impact on the zest of the pandal-hoppers who were determined to make the most of the first day’s celebrations.

Shops and business concerns, especially those dealing in garments and sweets, and shopping malls and restaurants did brisk business and operated till late into the night. Small makeshift shops selling toys and children ware and temporary eateries also remained hub of activities. Areas like Ganeshguri, Fancy Bazar, Machkhowa, Paltan Bazar, Panbazar, Beltola, Maligaon, Lakhtokia, etc., witnessed considerable rush since evening.

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