Preparations for Durga puja, the largest religious festival of the Bangla speaking Hindu community, scheduled to being on October 2, near completion in the capital.
This year the festival would be observed in 196 mandaps (venues) in the city, up by three than the previous year, said officials of Dhaka Mahanagar Sarbajaneen Puja Committee, adding that with the festival drawing near, artists are extremely busy giving final tough to the idol of the goddess Durga and other gods.
They said most of the venues for Durga puja, commonly called Sharadiya Durgotsab, would be the temples while there would be some makeshift venues.
The construction of the makeshift mandaps and pandals is almost compete in most of the areas. Although a religious occasion of the Hindus, the festivity and grandeur of Durga puja attracts people from other religious creeds also, they said.
According to leaders of different puja mandaps, construction of the idols is almost complete while painting the idols and construction of the pandals had just began.
‘Almost 80 per cent works of the idols had already been completed and all the works would be completed within two days,’ Shree Shree Barodeshwari Kalimata Mandir committee president Chitta Ranjan Das told.
He said that the works of pandel had also begun in his mandap. The important puja mandaps in the city include Dhakeshwari Mandir, Siddheshwari Kali Mandir, Ramna Kali Mandir, Barodeshwari Mandir, Lalbagh Sarbajaneen Puja Mandir, Goutam Mandir, Bholagiri Ashram, Gulshan Sarbajaneen Puja Mandir and Banani Sarbajaneen Puja Mandir.
Officials in different puja committees said the cost for constructing the idols and mandaps had increased by at least 25 per cent because of price hike of different materials and wages of workers.
‘Construction of idols costs Tk 45,000 this year while it was Tk 35,000 the previous year,’ said Tapan Ghosh, general secretary of Goutam Mandir Puja committee at Sutrapur.
He said that the cost for the construction and illumination of the pandals and the adjacent areas would be more than what it was previously.
Paritosh Paul, who is constructing idols for six mandaps at Nimtala, Rayerbazar and Demra and two in Keraniganj, said the cost had increased this year and he was getting Tk 20 thousand on an average from each of the mandaps.
According to the city puja committee leaders, one will be able to visit 22 mandaps if he or she moves between Tantibazar and Shakharibazar in Old Town and the highest number of 46 mandaps will be set up at Sutrapur and Gendaria in the city.
The most gorgeous puja observance generally takes place at the mandap set up by the North Brook Hall Road Banglabazar Jamidarbari Sarbajaneen Puja Committee under Sutrapur police station.
‘Preparations are now in full flow and we expect to observe the puja with special grandeur,’ said Dhaka Mahanagar Sarbajaneen Puja Committee general secretary Babul Debnath.
He said they had already directed all the thana puja committees and mandap puja committees in the capital not to use loudspeaker after 10:00pm during the Durga Puja and the loudspeakers playing religious songs would be allowed at low volume till the time and need to be stopped during the azan and prayer times of the Muslims.