GUWAHATI, Oct 19 - The Durga Puja celebrations concluded with the ceremonial immersion of the idols of Goddess Durga and other deities on Bijoya Dasami day today across the State along with the rest of the country.
The city had its fair share of the festivities during the three days prior to the immersion � i.e. Maha Saptami, Maha Astami and Maha Navami days. The Bijoya Dasami evening also drew crowds in hordes, as many followed on foot the vehicles carrying the idols while many others gathered on the roadsides to have a last glimpse of the Goddess as she ended her earthly sojourn. The city�s main roads � especially the intersections � witnessed severe traffic snarls for hours during the immersion ceremony.
In the city, the immersion took place at five designated spots where the district administration made elaborate arrangements.
The city hosted some 500 puja mandaps and the immersion ceremony continued late into the night.
Earlier, the Maha Astami and Maha Navami days saw the Durga Puja celebrations rise to a crescendo, as people hit the streets in their thousands to visit the illuminated puja mandaps.
While dazzling illuminations and stunning decorations symbolised best the festive spirit, the exquisitely-crafted idols of Goddess Durga added to the aesthetic appeal. The traditional flavour found its best expression in the reverberation of the dhak and the chanting of hymns � creating the wholesome puja ambience.
The crowd was a blend of the devout and the reveller, attired in their colourful best and descending on the streets with gusto and making a beeline for the venues since early evening till late into the night.
Designing, decoration and illumination of idols of Goddess Durga, the mandaps, and the approach roads to the puja venues shone with the imprint of the ingenuity of the makers. Equally compelling were the themes depicted through thoughtful illumination and d�cor that ranged from mythical fables to the idyllic rural life to the civic woes plaguing the city.
All the puja venues witnessed large participation of devotees in the morning hours as the people assembled to pay obeisance to the Goddess. Some of the most visited puja mandaps were Latasil, Beltola, Silpukhuri, Chandmari, Kumarpara, Bharalumukh, Binapani, Nayantara, Ganeshguri, Tarun Nagar, etc.
Even the agonising traffic snarls failed to be a dampener on the festive mood. Maha Astami and Maha Navami days are invariably associated with bumper-to-bumper traffic and areas like Beltola, Ganeshguri, Latasil, Chandmari, Athgaon, Maligaon, Pandu, etc., were the worst affected.
The occasion also drew huge numbers of people to the restaurants, dhabas and roadside eateries. No less sought after were the temporary eateries that invariably mushroom during such festive occasions. Juicy jalebis � part and parcel of Durga Puja festivities � sold like hot cakes, with the vendors enduring a tough time in meeting the burgeoning demand.
Various puja organisers continued with their cultural shows in the evening, featuring wide-ranging items from naam kirtan and arati to singing and dance competitions. Competitions among schoolchildren were also held.
Our Jalukbari Correspondent adds: People in thousands bid adieu to the Goddess as the four-day Durga Puja celebrations came to an end today. With tears in their eyes, devotees scrambled to touch the Goddess�s feet for the last time, as her idols along with those of other deities, were immersed in the Brahmaputra at Pandu Port.
The bank of the Brahmaputra wore a festive look as puja organisers came in colourful processions to the accompaniment of drums to immerse idols of Goddess Durga and her four children � Lakshmi, Saraswati, Ganesha and Kartik.
Talking to The Assam Tribune, an office-bearer of the Pandu Port Bisarjan Committee said, �The immersion process which started around 2 pm, will continue till 11 pm today. About 120 puja committees will immerse the idols in a span of two days. Today, 45 to 50 idols will be immersed, while the rest will be immersed tomorrow.� The immersion process was continuing smoothly till the filing of this report.
The office-bearer also said that many prizes in different disciplines would be given on the occasion.
Many top administrative officials of Kamrup (Metro) were present at the immersion site. Officers of Kamrup (Metro) police manned the riverfront to prevent onlookers from getting too close to the river. Special vigil was maintained by NDRF, SDRF, River Police, Fire Brigade, Civil Defence, citizens� bodies, etc.
Earlier in the morning, married women smeared the Goddess and her children with red vermilion and offered sweets and prayed for the well-being of their families and long life of their husbands. Tomorrow the immersion process will start around 10 am.