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Preparations under way for 516-yr-old Puja

By Correspondent

NALBARI, Oct 4 - Preparations are on in full swing to celebrate the 516-year-old historic Durga Puja at Barnardi village in Nalbari district with a five-day programme from October 7.

The Barnardi Durga Puja is considered one of the oldest Durga Puja celebrations in the State, which, incidentally, has no provision of installing or worshipping clay images.

Borrowing from the pages of history available in the village,the Barnardi Durga Puja was begun during the Ahom suzerainty.The villagers added that during the Ahom rule, Sailyokantha Ray Baruah first started the Durga Puja and on Navami day he reportedly offered human sacrifice.

Even the then Ahom king was admittedly angry for the human sacrifice and sent royal court officials to arrest Sailyokantha.Though the saying goes that human sacrifice was once the norm at Barnardi Durga Puja, however, even animal sacrifice today is totally banned here.

The devotees normally release the animals after being worshipped before the Devi. An important facet of this Durga Puja is that the villagers do not collect donations with receipt books. Spontaneous donations offered by the devotees is the main capital of this puja.

Further, as per the royal tradition, no clay image is worshipped at the Barnardi Durga Puja.Not surprisingly, the Barnardi Durga Puja attracts huge crowds from various parts of the State.

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