Century-old Durga Pujas of Guwahati
Ahom Royal Family's Uzanbazar Barowari Puja Mandap Samiti (Since 1889)
The oldest Durga Puja celebration in Guwahati takes place at Uzanbazar Barowari Puja Mandap. The puja completed its 129th year this time.
Started in 1889 by Ghanakanta Singha Rajkumar of the Ahom royal family, the puja has been a regular affair since then. Initially started in Uzanbazar Rajbari, it was later shifted to Uzanbazar Barowari Puja Mandap permanently in 1934.
Like every year, this year, too, the puja was successfully completed with all the rituals and a large number of devotees thronged the pandal to offer their obeisance.
Commemorating the 129th year, the puja committee for the first time, organised an Aarti singing competition on Saptami and Ashtami evenings. The prize money for the winners was fixed at Rs. 10,000 for the first prize and Biswajeet Sheel was judged the winner. The second prize was for Rs. 7,000 which was won by Bhaskar Dasgupta and the third prize of Rs. 5,000 was won by Pompi Dasgupta. A total of 15 participants took part in the Aarti singing competition.
Hari Sabha in Panbazar (Since 1915)
The Panbazar Sanatan Dharma Sabha (Hari Sabha) completed 103 years of Durga Puja celebrations this year. It is one the oldest Durga puja venues in Guwahati. The Hari Sabha puja is not only a place of congregation for the Hindus, but also for the Muslims from Lakhtokia area, who participate in organising the week-long celebrations. The Hari Sabha puja is more inclined towards spiritual worship.
The Durga Puja is devoid of modern decorations and glitzy pandals and concentrates on worshipping through old Vedic rituals and culture. An interesting trivia is that the idols for the puja have been sculpted by the same family from Jorpukhuri for over one hundred years now. Another trivia is that a single family has been sitting as priests for the puja since its inception.
Moreover, all the idols are aligned on the same platform and are not sculpted as individuals. During immersion, the Hari Sabha committee used to carry the idols on shoulders from the venue to the ghat. For the past three years, there has been dearth of people to carry the idols, and so, the committee has been using a trolley.
West Guwahati Puja Samiti (Since 1901)
The Paschim Guwahati Durga puja has completed 117 years. It started in 1901 opposite the Bharalumukh Police Station at the Paschim Guwahati Puja Samiti Mandap. The puja follows the Puranic system of worship. There is no animal or any other form of sacrifice in this puja and it is purely spiritual in nature. This year the puja committee organised Ojapali, Nagara Naam, Aayotir Naam and Chandi Paath as main attractions.