MUSHALPUR, Oct 6 - Contrary to the undeclared competition of decoration and lightings reaching the crescendo among many puja committees across the State, Durga Puja began with austere rituals at the avian shrine of Mainapokhari Bhuichampa Devi atop Dihira Reserve Forest in Baksa district.
The celebration started with Navaratri marked by Chandi paath, Rudri paath, hom jajna, kirtan, arati and partaking of prasad. Devotees thronged the shrine on the evening of Mahasasthi for the ritual of belbodhan and in the morning of Mahasaptami puja. It is noteworthy that there is no tradition of animal sacrifice at the shrine. Pure austerity prevailed around the shrine with hymns and chantings echoing in the hills. Austerity is prominent in puja pandals at Dhanshripur, Bhutankhuti, Hastinapur, Nikashi, Doomuni, Mushalpur, Natun Sripurdeor Devalaya, Puran Sripurdeor devalaya, Kujideor Devalaya and adjoining areas.