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Puja spirit grips city on Saptami

By Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, Oct 3 � 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 not been exactly what one would have associated with the Durga Puja but nevertheless it has failed to act as a dampener on the enthusiasm of the devotees and puja-revellers alike. By evening the crowds hit the street with gusto and started thronging the puja mandaps in their hordes. While installation of the idols of Goddess Durga is done on the Maha Sasthi day � marking the beginning of the goddesses� five-day earthly sojourn � the celebrations in the real sense of the term begin from the Maha Saptami day.

The 500-odd puja mandaps in the city and its 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, many of the illuminations � from the approach roads and within the vicinity of the mandaps � were innovative. They depicted a wide array of themes � from Gandhian Anna Hazare�s fight against corruption to the appalling civic amenities of the city � in a novel way.

The pujas at Beltola, Latasil, Maligaon, Athgaon, Binapani, Chandmari and Ganeshguri were among those that attracted the maximum crowds. 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.

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