SIVASAGAR, Oct 13 - Worship of Devi Durga at the historic Devi doul is as old as the temple township Sivasagar itself.
The Devi doul flanked by the historic Shiva doul and Bishnu doul on the bank of the Sivasagar Borpukhuri, constructed by Bor Raja Fuleswari�s sister Draupadi in 1733 is still the centrestage of the Shakti cult as hundreds of animals are sacrificed on Ashtami puja as offering to the Goddess for her blessings in keeping with a 300-year-old tradition.
Rajen Borthakur, grandson of famous priest of the Devi doul, Late Biswanath Borthakur said that earlier, animals were sacrificed on all the four days beginning from Saptami to Dasami but due to soaring prices of animals, especially goats, ducks etc., and the active campaigns of animal rights groups, lesser number of devotees now turn up and animal sacrifice is now confined to the Ashtami only.
In Barowari Puja at KPM Chariali, the main pandal designed after the nine god and goddesses is expected to witness a heavy rush during all the three days due to its traditional reputation, lighting and other eco-friendly decorations.
Sukhampha, the Khora Raja (1552-1603 AD), who introduced Durga Puja in Sivasagar, had sent his men under Marongial Khanikar to learn the art of idol making to Cooch Behar and later had the images built in Bhatiapar, near Sivasagar to perform the puja. Later, Rudra Singha alias Sukhrungpha (1696-1714), shifted the puja to Devi doul on the bank of the Joysagar tank and it continued there till the advent of the marauding Burmese who vandalised and destroyed most of the Ahom worshipping places.
As a gesture of respect to people of other beliefs, the Sivasagar Doul Development Committee offers a sacrificial goat to the direct descendent of the Kenduguriya Borpatra Gohain reviving the tradition that existed during the reign of the Ahom kings and another goat to the Doulla family, a respected Muslim family in the town whose ancestors played the drum at Shiva doul.
Other notable puja samities in the town are the Hindu Dharma Namghar Durga Puja, Bharat Mata Durga Puja, NavaDurgotsav samittee, Station Chariali Durgutsav Samity, Sarbajanin Durga Puja Samity, Rongpur Sarbajanin Puja Samity, Nepali Baba Durga Puja and Police Reserve Durga Puja.