Guwahati, Monday, October 22, 2012
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2,159 community Durga Puja pandals in Tripura

 AGARTALA, Oct 21 – From the queen who fainted at the sight of ten-armed Durga to Ashura, the demon, pleading with the Goddess to slay him, several stories are recounted as part of the puja celebrations in Tripura.The Goddess has only two arms at the Durgabari Temple where the pujas are 200 years old and is currently organised by the State’s Communist government.

In the early 19th century, Krishna Kishore Manikya Bahadur’s queen fainted after seeing the Goddess with ten arms, Panna Lal Roy, who studied history and heritage of the State, said.

Thereafter, on the advice of priests, Durga has only two hands visible while the remaining eight are hidden behind her back, Roy said.

“The Durga puja at the Durgabari temple is funded and organised by the State Government and the district magistrate of West Tripura is the main sevayat of the puja,” he said.

When Tripura signed the instrument of accession with the Government of India on October 15, 1949, it was agreed that the daily work at the Durgabari temple, Tripureswari Kali Temple at Udaipur in Gomati district and some other temples would be funded and looked after by the State Government.

At the 115-year-old puja at the house of Hara Chandra Debbarma, demon Ashura apologises with folded hands to the Goddess.

“We are Vaishnavites and don’t believe in violence. Ashura, a symbol of evil is defeated by Durga, the symbol of good. He apologises to the Goddess for his misdeeds and prays for death at her hands for him to be able to enter paradise,” BK Debbarman, a former Director of the Archaeological Survey of India, the grandson of Harachandra Debbarma, said.

At Samhati, a 70-year-old club at Ramnagar, the idol of Durga towers 52 feet high as also her progeny. Another leading club, Shanti Kami Sangha, depicts Ali Baba and the 40 thieves complete with 3D sound at their pandal.

The Bharat Ratna Club has put up a replica of the famous Somnath temple in Gujarat and even recreated the ambience of the Arabian Sea. The most expensive community puja has been organised by Shantipara Aikatan Sangha with a budget of Rs 60 lakh. The pandal has been made with carvings in teak and has fountains and lighting as part of decorations.

According to data available with the Agartala Municipal Council and 15 nagar Panchayat authorities, 2,159 community pujas are being organised in the State this year, including 81 new ones.

Of them, over 1,000 pujas are being held here in the State capital. – PTI

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