[Watch] Experience Ayodhya’s Ram Mandir At This Puja Pandal In Bhubaneswar

Bhubaneswar: The replicas range from palaces and temples to museums and ghats. Durga Puja associations in Odisha’s capital have erected impressive facades this time to give visitors, who could not celebrate the festival in a grand way for two years because of COVID-19, a memorable experience this year.

Like the Rasulgarh Durga Puja Committee, which has modelled the façade of its pandal on a temple, the Saheed Nagar puja pandal also has a temple theme: an impressive replica of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. The idol is 85-ft high and 120 ft in width. Put together by skilled craftsmen from Cuttack, the idol has silver decorations with a gold crown.

For the impressive puja pandal, much credit goes to Biswanath Ghose, who designed and oversaw its execution. Preparations started almost three months ago. Ghose, who has 32 years of experience making puja pandals across the country, also made a trip to Ayodhya to see the temple, which follows the Nagara style of architecture. Ghose then set down to work along with 50 craftsmen from Kolkata.

Speaking to Odisha Bytes, Saheed Nagar Durga Puja Committee president Sachinandan Nayak said, “Due to relaxation in COVID norms this year, we expect the celebrations to return to their splendid form this time. Visitors are requested to abide by the government’s COVID guidelines.”

“This year’s budget has been fixed at Rs 60 lakh, including all arrangements, and we expect a daily footfall of one lakh,” Nayak said. The Saheed Nagar Durga Puja Committee has been organising puja celebrations in the state capital since 1978, among the first puja committees to do so.

The association has made every effort to make the festivities inclusive for all categories of people, including senior citizens and specially challenged people. Keeping in view the security of visitors, the area would be covered by CCTV cameras along with 100 volunteers and 50 security guards.

“Local police will also provide security apart from an additional 50 women volunteers, who would be deployed by us,” Saroj Kumar Patra, vice-president of the puja committee, said.

“From ‘Panchami’ to ‘Dashami’, acclaimed artistes would perform in the pandal and five famous sportspersons from Odisha would be felicitated on those days,” he added.

The puja association has also organised free prasad for around 2,000 devotees on ‘Saptami’, ‘Ashtami’ and ‘Dashami’.

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