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Puja festivities end with ‘Ravan Podi’

Staff Reporter

Lakhs of people witness burning of effigies of Ravan and Kumbhkarna at Sahid Nagar

Photo: Lingaraj Panda

Religious fervour: Thousands thronged to watch the ’Ravana Podi’, ignited by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik at Saheednagar in Bhubaneswar on Sunday. —

BHUBANESWAR: Glittering pandals, huge effigies of Ravan, the demon king of Ramayan epic, and congregation of lakhs of people were at their display best as the annual Dusshera festival came to an end on Sunday evening.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik hopped from one place to another to set the effigies of Ravan on fire on occasion of Ravan Podi Mahotsaba. Two effigies of Ravan and his brother Kumbhkarna stuffed with explosive materials were erected at Sahid Nagar Puja Committee.

Deafening blast that was enhanced by the shouts of spectators marked the Ravan Podi celebration. Chief Minister and other senior leaders visited Nayapalli and Ganganagar puja pandals to attend the Ravan Podi Mahotsaba.

About 15 effigies of Ravan were torched in the city to celebrate the victory of good over evil. Security was tightened around the city as vehicular movements were diverted to other routes to ensure no rush near puja pandals. Though rituals for immersion of idols would be completed late in the evening, immersion would take place here on Monday.

There were huge numbers of animal sacrifice across the state even though the ritual faced opposition from intellectuals. In Kalahandi district, thousands of goats were slaughtered near Manikeswari Temple.

Police personnel were deployed at the spot to prevent confrontation between pro and anti sacrifice groups. At Banapur in Khurda District, hundreds of goats were sacrificed on the concluding day of Dusshera. Identical scenes were witnessed in Badachana area of Jajpur district.

CUTTACK: Just about a decade ago, the concept of Ravan Podi was not popular in the Millennium city that gets lively during Durga Puja. But this year, symbol of victory of good over evil has caught everybody’s imagination as the city organized ‘Ravan podi’ at two main grounds here to add grandeur to puja revelry. For the first time the people of eastern Cuttack set up a huge effigy of the 10-headed demon Ravana that was set afire at Chauliaganj school field on Sunday evening. And like previous years, the Barabati Cultural Association organised the same at the famous Baliyatra ground drawing huge crowd.

“The 45-foot effigy of Ravan was set up with crackers worth Rs 35,000 fitted into it. It was set afire amid chorus of Jai Sri Ram renting the air,” said Pabitra Patra, the organising secretary of Sampark, a local NGO making all arrangements of the occasion.

“Ravan podi was not popular in Cuttack. A few years ago a senior journalist was arranging it on his own. But that had stopped since long. Some youths of the locality decided to revive it.," Mr. Patra said.

Similarly one such ceremony was also arranged at Mangalabag in early 90’s. But that also stopped midway. But Barabati cultural association under the auspices of sports organizer Ashirbad Behera organizes Ravan Podi at Baliyatra ground for the past few years.

Spectacular show

“We have spent around Rs 1.50 lakh for the event this year. Artistes from Padmapur who are very popular in cracker making had prepared the effigy of the demon within 20 days.

The effigy is mainly prepared with bamboo and straw,” he added. Before the event, the organizing committee also arranged a spectacular cultural programme on a huge open stage erected at another corner of the ground. The organizers also felicitated at least 15 eminent persons of the locality on the occasion.

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