Bhubaneswar: People in their best attire started thronging puja pandal across the state capital since morning to offer puja to Maa Durga on the occasion of Maha Ashtami.
Long queues could be seen in front of all major mandaps, including Jharpara, Bomikhal, Saheed Nagar, Nayapalli, Unit-1, Old Town, Tankapani Road, Laxmisagar, Unit-4, Rasulgarh and Bhouma Nagar.
“The Ashtami rituals began early in the morning with Mangala Alati, Balya Bhoga, Surya Puja, Arghya Daana and Sodasa Upachar Puja. The Puspanjali was offered to the Goddess at 2 pm,” said a priest of a puja mandap at Old AG Colony here.
According to Nayapalli Durga Puja Samiti advisor Naba Kishore Pujari, Meena Baazar, attractive lights and cultural programmes are major attractions of this year’s puja. “The artisans have replicated the famous Laxmi Vilas Palace of Gujarat for the pandal. We have deployed 100 volunteers to ensure hassle-free darshan for devotees, especially women and children. Besides, ambulance and fire brigades have been kept ready for exigencies. Temporary toilets have also been set up for women,” he said.