Durga Puja, the biggest religious festival of the Bangali Hindu community, begins with the incarnation (Bodhon) of the Goddess Durga at temples across the country today amid stringent security.
On the occasion, preparations in all the Puja pandals have nearly been completed.
In separate messages, President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina conveyed greetings to the members of the country’s Hindu community marking the festival, BSS reports.
Bangladesh Puja Udjapan Parishad, the largest organization of Hindu community, decided to provide assistance to the persecuted Rohingya people by saving the cost of the community’s biggest religious festival.
“The exodus of Rohingyas to Bangladesh fleeing violence in Rakhine state of Myanmar has unfolded a horrific humanitarian crisis. We will come up with assistance for the persecuted Rohingya by saving cost of Dugra Puja festival,” Bangladesh Puja Udjapan Parishad General Secretary Taposh Kumar Paul told newsmen recently.
The five-day festival starts with ‘Bodhon’ of the Goddess Durga today marking Sashthi while the festival will come to an end with the emersion of the idols of the Goddess Durga in the nearby rivers and water bodies across the country on September 30.
Maha Saptami puja will be held on Wednesday, Maha Ashtami, Kumari Puja and Sandhi Puja on Thursday, Maha Nabami Puja on Friday and Bijoya Dashami on Saturday.
Centering the festival, devotees and artisans are busy with giving final touches on idols and pandals across the country.
Taposh Kumar Paul said as many as 30,077 permanent and temporary pandals have been erected in the country including 231 in the capital city this year.
In Dhaka City, Dhakeshwari National Temple, Ramkrishna Mission and Math, Kalabagan, Banani, Shakhari Bazar and Dhaka University Jagannath Hall puja mandops might be seen the largest number of crowd of devotees.
He said the number of puja pandals has increased this year as the number puja pandals were 29,395 including 229 in the previous year.
Chittagong district will see 1,767 puja pandals which is the highest numbers in a district wise. As many as 1,242 puja will be held in Dinajpur and 1,175 in Gopalganj.
Security has been beefed up in all Puja pandals throughout the country including in the capital city with the deployment of additional squads of Ansars, police, RAB and other law enforcers for peaceful celebration of the festival.
“Law enforcers will remain deployed for five days from the first day on September 26 at all Puja mandaps until the immersion on September 30,” Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said adding that the government has banned the use of crackers during the the Puja.
He said the immersion of Durga’s idol should be done from 3:00 pm to 8:00 pm on the day of Bijoya Dashami.
All Puja committees have installed close circuit cameras and metal detectors at their mandaps.
A mood of festivities has been witnessed among the devotees irrespective of ages marking the festival while adequate security measures have already been taken in the puja pandals across the country.
Throughout the day today to mark the Shashthi, recitation of the verses from the Holy Chandi and blowing of conch shells (Shankha) and beating of dhak- dhols (drums) will be heard in temples and pandals in the city.
Draped in new dresses, a large numbers of devotees irrespective of ages will throng the city pandals, particularly at Dhakeshwari National Temple, and offer prayers before the Goddess Durga seeking divine blessings for peace, prosperity and welfare of the country and its people.
Apart from offering prayers before the Goddess, Dhakeshwari National Temple at Lalbag has chalked out other programmes including rendering of devotional songs, distribution of clothes among the poor, distribution of Mohaprosad, Arati completion, voluntary blood donation and bring out a Bijoya Dashami procession in the city from the temple premises.
Preparations have also been completed in the tastefully decorated Puja pandals at Ramkrishna Mission and Math, Ramna Kalimandir O Anandamayee Ashram, Kalabagan, Baradeshwari Kalimata Mandir, Siddheshwari Kalibari, Bholanath Mandir Ashram, Jagannath Hall, Rishipara Gautam Ashram, Gulshan Banani Sarbojonin Puja Parishad, Basabo Balurmath, Bonogram, South Maishundi, Shankhari Bazar, Tanti Bazar, Panitola, Farashganj, North Brook Hall Road, Lalbag and other places in the city.
On the eve of the festival, leaders of Bangladesh Puja Utjapan Parishad, Mohanagar Sarbojonin Puja Committee and Bangladesh Hindu-Bouddha-Christian Oikya Parishad expressed Puja greetings to the members of all communities of the country.