For the last 12 days, Ruhidas Pal and his assistants did not get a chance to catch their breath. From 8am to 12pm everyday, they poured all their energy and devotion to finish making the idols as the countdown to the biggest religious festival of the Hindu community begins.
Despite the hard work, there was a glow of satisfaction on the face of Ruhidas as his nimble fingers work to put final touches to Goddess Durga at Dhakeshwari National Temple in the capital.
“There is a feeling of gratification when I think that I am doing something for my religion.” Ruhidas said.
Bolai Pal, another artisan from Banglabazar said: “We started to make the idols three months back. Everything is done and now we are just giving the last touch of our brush to the idol.”
Visiting some temples in the capital yesterday, a cornucopia of colours, sounds and religious fervour was experienced as most temples were abuzz with the last minute decoration.
Not only the Hindu community but the whole nation is waiting to celebrate the Durga Puja, also known as Sharbojanin Durgotshav, meaning universal Durga festival. On September 23, the Hindus celebrated the Mahalaya, the ceremonial invocation of Durga to welcome the advent of the goddess and her children.
Narayan Saha Moni, Purohit of Dhakeshwari temple told the Dhaka Tribune, that the main celebration will begin from September 30 (Shasthi) with the ‘Abahan’ and ‘Bodhon’ (incarnation) of the Goddess Durga at temples.
“The ritual entails ten days of fast, feast and worship, but the last five days - Shashthi, Shaptami, Ashtami, Navami, and Bijoya Dashami - are celebrated with much gaiety. This year, Maha Navami and Bijoya Dashami will be celebrated on the same day on October 3. That is why the festival will go for 4 days this year.” he added.
Some Hindu community members as well people from all walks of life were seen crowding the temples and Puja mandaps to see the preparation. Nursery student, Ochintradas Priyo came with his father to see the idols of Goddess Durga. Bishwajit Adhikari brought along his wife to observe the preparation at the temple set up at Kalabagan playground.
“I always love visiting the mandaps during preparation.” Bishwajit said.
Tapan Kanti Sarkar, president of the Dhanmondi Puja Udjapon Committee, told the Dhaka Tribune that they were worried about completing the construction in time due to the incessant rain.
'All the preparations are done and its a big relief.” he said. He appreciated the Dhanmondi police for providing support and necessary security.
According to Bangladesh Puja Udjapon Parishad, a total of 28,458 Puja mandaps will be set up across the country this year, up by 458 from last year. The highest number of Puja mandap is in Chittagong district, 1577. In Dhaka city, the number is 220 with seven new mandaps.
Kajal Debnath, president of the Parishad said all necessary preparations for a successful holding of the Durga Puja had already been taken. However, he pointed out that there was an insecurity among the community as idols were desecrated in some places in the country.
“In Kishoreganj sadar, four idols were vandalized in one night. This is a matter of concern.” he said. Kajal added that as per his information, so far 23 idols were vandalized across the country.
“The government and law enforcement authority are giving their utmost support but most of these incidents are happening at night. Something has to be done to check this.” he said.
Durga Puja is celebrated every year in the month of Ashwin. In recorded history, the first grand worship of Goddess Durga is said to have been celebrated in the late 1500s.
As per Hindu pantheon, Mahishasura, the son of demon Rambha, unleashed a reign of terror on earth defeating gods and banishing them from heaven. Vanquished, gods, headed by Brahma and Vishnu, sought Lord Shiva's help. As they narrated their woeful tale, Adishakti, re-manifested as Durga, was emerged from the rays of the gods. Armed with celestial weapons of all deities and decked with divine ornaments, Durga rode into the battle field and defeated Mahishasura. Thus the celebration of Durga Puja epitomises the victory of Good over Evil.