Durga Puja at Jamshedpur

If numbers are anything to go by then the Jamshedpur Durga Puja Kendriya Samiti is perhaps only second to Calcutta when it comes to the number of pujas held here.

This year, 254 pujas are being organised by it and what makes them special is the cultural diversity.

Himalayan treasures: The Pashupati Nath Temple in Golmuri is situated on a busy lane behind the Akashdeep Plaza in Golmuri. Constructed exactly like the original temple in Kathmandu, this is the hub of Nepali celebrations in the city and is run by the Jamshedpur Nepali Samiti.

Durga Puja here was once synonymous with animal sacrifice. “But since the past two years the sacrifice has been stopped,” says Gopal Dangal, the secretary of the Nepali Samiti.

Northen delights: The Sikh community unites at the residence of Gurmej Singh, who has redefined faith and festivities in his locality.

Singh, who is in his 40s, was an idol maker, but he calls it a divine blessing that initiated him to conduct the Puja himself. “It’s not a typical Sikh Puja, but yes it’s different in many ways,” said Singh, who has been performing the rituals for the past 21 years.

The idol is similar to that at Vaishno Devi and the prasad comprises pumpkin and halwa and festivities begin from Navratri itself.

Sikh men and women also take out a procession with kirtans and kartals. Next year, a huge temple would also come up.

Utkal Calling: The puja organised by the East Zone Sarbojonin Durga Puja Committee is very popular.

Celebrated since 1950, the East Zone Sarbojanin Puja is the oldest Oriya Puja in the city. Though rituals remain more or less the same, it’s the idols that make it different. Made in the Oriental style, most of the idols are single coloured with typical architectural design from the state.

The idols at the Utkal Association, too, are no different. Kailash Chandra has been making them from the past 13 years and the idols are made on the lines of those in the Ajanta caves.

This year as part of its Durga Puja preparation programme, the Jamshedpur Durga Puja Kendriya Samiti issued various directives to the puja committees across the city.

The samiti, which monitors the Durga Puja celebrations in the city, had asked the puja committees to display the important telephone numbers at the puja pandals. This initiative was taken for the first time.

The general secretary of the Jamshedpur Durga Puja Kendriya Samiti, Ram Babu Singh, said it will be mandatory for the puja committees to display the telephone numbers of the office of deputy commissioner, superintendent of police, fire brigade and the telephone numbers of the respective police stations.

These steps are being taken so that important district functionaries could be contacted during emergencies.

There will be about 255 pujas this year, with three new pujas having been added to the existing list.

Moreover, it would be mandatory for the puja committees to make adequate arrangements for fire fighting services. In the absence of fire fighting devices, the licence of the puja committee would be liable for cancellation.

It has been observed that several puja committees fail to make arrangements for fire fighting services, which can prove to be risky.

Another important directive issued was the ban on blaring loudspeakers and playing of film songs.

“The samiti members would keep a constant vigil on the puja pandals and if any puja committee is found playing film songs, necessary action would be taken against that puja committee,” said Singh, adding that only religious songs would be allowed at the puja pandals.

Meanwhile, the samiti has put an embargo on lifting of sand from the river banks.

“This has been done to facilitate smooth immersion. The district administration has also notified a ban on lifting of sand from river banks,” said an official of the Jamshedpur Durga Puja Kendriya Samiti.

To prevent petty crimes at the puja pandals, the puja committees have been asked to press into service committee members in plain clothes.

Moreover, a request letter has also been sent to the office of the superintendent of police to provide adequate police constables at the puja pandals to ensure a peaceful puja.

The samiti would organise a meeting with the district administration next week, which would be attended by representatives of the various puja committees.

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