Burying the wounds and panic of last year’s communal attacks, the Hindu community in the port city are celebrating their largest religious festival amid fanfare and creative themes this year.
Among the 282 mandaps across the city, one has been drawing the attraction of devotees and visitors most. The goddess Durga has appeared there dressed as a tribal woman.
South Nalapara Puja Celebration Council has come up with this unique theme in celebration of its 75th anniversary. The mandap named as ‘Parban’ (festival) is highlighting the life and culture of the tribespeople of Chattogram Hill Tracts.
The celebration of indigenous culture became visible in the attire of Durga and her children Laxmi, Saraswati, Ganesh and Kartik. The whole mandap was decorated with bamboo, bamboo crafted walls and other materials inspired from the day-to-day life of indigenous people.
Theme planner Razib Bishwash Raja said 14,000 bamboos have been incorporated in the mandap design that has been implemented by artist Bishwajit Aich.
Durga herself was wearing indigenous headpiece, ornaments all made of bamboo and motif of her drape was also selected from indigenous heritage. Apart from the deities there were other characters depicting tribal men, women and children wearing ‘Pinon Hadi’, with musical instruments and dancing and taking part in the celebration or ‘Parban’.
Already visitors have started crowding the mandap to get a glimpse of the aesthetic and aboriginal form of Durga. This year Durga Puja will be celebrated in a total of 2,062 mandaps across the 15 upazilas of Chattogram, according to leaders of Chattogram Puja Celebration Council.
Chittagong Metropolitan Police (CMP) has taken up four-tier security measures surrounding the Durga Puja celebration this year.
CMP Commissioner Krishna Pada Roy said apart from police members, striking reserve force, SWAt, bomb disposal unit and detective police are working to ensure security in puja mandaps across the city. “There is no specific threat surrounding puja this year but we are prepared for any situation,” he said.
Last year, 76 people were arrested in connection with an attack at JM Sen Hall puja mandap in the port city and most of them are currently on bail.
The CMP commissioner said they are under surveillance to ensure they do not create any untoward situation this year.
He said separate security measures have been taken to ensure smooth immersion of idols at nine immersion spots including Patenga beach. The Durga Puja celebration will conclude on October 5 with immersion of idols for which the authority announced a deadline till 6 pm.