A comfortable temperature and a clear sky added to the joy of the festival of autumn, Durga Puja in Guwahati and other parts of Assam especially urban areas where hundreds of colourfully decorated and illuminated pandals are waiting to welcome the puja crowd over the next four days.
Over 500 puja pandals have come up only in Guwahati, where most of the puja committees have sent huge amount of money for pandal decoration and lighting.
A large number of electricians and huge quantities of decorative materials have been brought from neighbouring West Bengal to spruce up puja venues in Guwahati and Tinsukia city in eastern Assam.
Notwithstanding the steeping prices, markets in the state are teeming with puja shoppers, creating a festive atmosphere all over.
Chinese goods including toys, balloons, toy pistols, cutlery sets, household decorative items and garments which are sold at cheaper rates than branded Indian products, have flooded the puja market all over the state.
In a puja venue at Nayantora locality in Guwahati city, the organisers have used pieces of towels indigenous Cuttack, Navadeep, Bhubaneswar in Odisha Kerala, Assam, West Bengal and Karnataka to erect a unique Puja pandal.
The Durga idol stands tallest at 75 ft at Datalpara puja pandal at Fatasil Ambari locality in the city while in another puja venue the pandal has been designed to look like the Great Wall of China.
At Bharalumukh in the city, a puja pandal has Indian Parliament House as the theme for lighting hole another at Maligaon Rest Camp area has colossal musician Late Bhupen Hazarika as the theme for lighting.
The observance of Durga puja in such mega scale in Assam creates a huge demand for flowers in the State of Assam and a huge quantity of those have to be imported from places like West Bengal and Karnataka and local production is found insufficient to meet such huge demand.
While the festivities are acquiring decibels, police in Assam have made elaborate security arrangements to make the celebrations a smooth sailing. In Guwahati, traffic police have found it very tough to regulate the puja rush of vehicles on the road and barred entry of vehicles through many lanes and by-lanes in the city.
Image: The 75-ft-tall Durga idol at the Datalpara puja pandal.