GUWAHATI, Oct 5 - Following the ceremonial installation of the idols of Goddess Durga in the beautifully-decorated mandaps yesterday, the celebrations got into the festive mood today, with the observance of Maha Saptami all over the State.
In the city, the temperatures have cooled down a bit, especially onwards evening, creating the much-needed Durga Puja ambience. By evening, the crowds comprising devotees and revellers alike hit the street with gusto and started thronging the puja mandaps in large numbers.
While installation of the idols of Goddess Durga is done on the Maha Sasthi day � marking the beginning of the five-day earthly sojourn of the goddess � the celebrations in the real sense of the term began from the Maha Saptami day and reaching a crescendo on the Maha Astami and Maha Navami nights.
The 500-odd puja mandaps in the city and outskirts � decoratively illuminated right from their approach roads � lit up the city skyline, as they seemed to vie for attraction of the onlookers. If the exquisitely-crafted Durga idols evoked awe and reverence, the dazzling illuminations heightened the festive spirit.
In keeping with the practice for years, many of the illuminations were innovative. They depicted a wide array of themes from pressing environmental concerns to the surgical air strikes on Pakistan�s terrorist camps, to the appalling civic amenities of the city � in a novel way.
While the Santipur Sluice Gate had its puja mandap in the shape of a large ship based on the Pirates of the Caribbean, the Bishnupur Bimala Nagar (Fatasil) recreated the bizarre ambience of the Avatar with its alien idols and settings.
The Noonmati Puja has modelled its mandap on Chandrayaan-2 and the Newfield Puja has a large visage of the meditating Buddha. The Nayantara Puja at Kumarpara has come up with a replica of the Eiffel Tower.
The pujas at Beltola, Latasil, Maligaon, Athgaon, Binapani, Kumarpara, Chandmari and Ganeshguri were among those that attracted the maximum crowd. Even the consequent traffic congestions had little impact on the zest of the pandal-hoppers who were determined to make the most of the first day�s celebrations.
Shops and business concerns, especially those dealing in garments and sweets, and shopping malls and restaurants did brisk business and operated till late into the night. Small makeshift shops selling toys and children ware and temporary eateries also remained hub of activities. Areas like Ganeshguri, Fancy Bazar, Machkhowa, Paltan Bazar, Panbazar, Beltola, Maligaon, Lakhtokia, etc., witnessed considerable rush since evening.