Kendrapara, Oct 13 (LocalWire): The ten-day-long Gajalaxmi Puja began here amidst much pomp, gaiety and fanfare with Kumar Purnima today. Kendrapara town has been decked up with decorations lighting up the streets.
Around 66 puja committees are celebrating the Puja this year and are expecting to witness large participation of devotees.
People made a rush to pay obeisance to the Goddess of Wealth, Ma Gajalaxmi at the pandals.
While people in Cuttack, Bhubaneswar and other cities and town of the state observe Durga Puja, people of Kendrapada celebrate Gajalaxmi puja with fervour.
Gajalaxmi Puja in the state’s oldest municipality was started by the then landlord of Kendrapada, Radhashyam Narendra Srichandan, in his two-storied residence at New Bus Stand in 1928.
The puja is over 91-years-old, said Sambit Srichandan, the great-great-grandson of Zamindar Radhashyam Narendra Srichandan.
Later in 1932, some people started Gajalaxmi Puja in Balagandi, Santasahi, Ichapur, Nasidapur, Gopa and other places within Kendrapara town which has now swelled in numbers, added Srichandan.
The ten-day-long festival will conclude after ten days with the immersion of the idols.
Initiative has also been taken to provide uninterrupted power supply to the puja mandaps at night to enable the devotees to visit the mandaps, said Samarth Verma the district Collector, Kendrapara.
‘The cost of organizing Gajalaxmi puja went up this year as more money had to be shelled out on raw materials to build the pandals.
In some places decorators are charging Rs five lakh to seven lakhs to decorate the pandals with light,’ said Sangram Dash, a puja committee member in Kendrapara.
The authorities installed 36 CCTV cameras at 12 important places at Santasahi, Old Bus-stand, Badahat, New Bus-stand, Tinimuhani , Garapur and other areas to maintain law and order during the festival and detect the traffic violators.
‘We are also depending on the privately-installed CCTV camera footage at market complexes, petrol pumps, hotels, shops, educational institutions and banks in the town, said Rajiv Lochan Panda, the Sub-divisional police officer of Kendrapara.
‘We have deployed 27 platoons of police at strategic points on the town and also near the Puja pandals for the safety and security of pandal hoppers.
We also opened temporary police outposts at six places in the town,’ added the police officer.