Durga Puja preparations on in full swing

Committee members supervising ongoing works

By A O News Service

NAHARLAGUN, Sept 29: With the people of Arunachal Pradesh getting ready to celebrate Durga Puja from October 14 (panchami), preparations have begun in full swing, particularly in Capital Complex for the pandals.

The Community Hall Durga Puja Committee begun preparations a month ago by engaging Alipurdwar- based pandal maker Dulal Biswas, who arrived with a 30-member team for the job.

A huge bamboo structure is coming up which ultimately get a aesthetic shape, said committee president U S Bhattachrjee and patron Likha Taji.

While the advent of the mother Goddess Durga is considered highly auspicious and is cerebrated as an occasion for rejoicing and celebrating, the different Vahans, that is, the mounts or the carriers that she uses for making this annual sojourn are also considered equally important. For, her choice of these mounts is believed to hold significant indications about how good or otherwise, the year is going to be for the people. No doubt, it is the Lion that remains as the most prominent vehicle of the Goddess. But she does have and travel by four more Vahans, and these are the elephant, the horse, the boat and the palanquin. Goddess Durga will arrive on a boat and depart on an elephant this year.

The choice of the mount that she decides as her vehicle for arriving for the Navarathri puja on a particular year depends on the day of the week that the festival begins, and so is her choice of the vehicle for departing, after the puja gets over too. It is believed that on Sundays and Mondays, the mother arrives and departs on elephant back; on Tuesdays and Saturdays, riding a horse; on Wednesdays, by a boat; and on Thursdays and Fridays, through a palanquin. She doesn’t normally arrive and depart by the same vehicle, and if she does so, it is not considered a good sign for the land and the people.

What is the significance of different carriers? The elephant mount of the Goddess is believed to indicate good tidings and the Goddess is expected to bring in abundant blessings with her. The year in which she comes or goes riding an elephant, will turn out to be one of prosperity and happiness. The harvest will be good; honest work will give handsome results; and people will live a life of good fortune. The horse carrier, however, is considered the antithesis of the elephant. Being the animal used in conflicts and wars from very old times, the horse is held as a pointer to destruction. The choice of this mount for the divine mother’s arrival or departure on a particular year, will prove unfortunate for the people at large. On such occasions, people will offer earnest prayers to her during Navarathri, seeking the strength to face the difficult times ahead.

The carrier of boat is considered good for the world, though the results may not be that long lasting. A boat travels in water. And the mother, riding the same is expected to ensure a good monsoon, strong fertility of the soil, a plentiful harvest and overall prosperity. The palanquin mount of the Goddess is not considered good, and the coming in or the going out of the mother in this carrier is feared to forecast bad times and something widespread like an epidemic. Here also, people pray to the mother for the necessary fortitude to face the challenge together. The elephant carrier is considered good, indicating bountiful harvest and prosperity. However, the horse doesn’t portend good times and may indicate poor rains and drought like conditions, in the following year.

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