Agartala: Departing from the normal, a Durga Puja pandal (marquee) here is paying tribute to the 19 Indian Army soldiers martyred in a terrorist attack on their camp in Uri in Jammu and Kashmir last month.
Thousands of puja revellers thronged the Agantuk Club Durga Puja pandal (marquee) here to pray before the goddess and pay their respects to the martyred soldiers.
“We have displayed the photographs of those martyred in Uri to keep alive the memory of their sacrifice,” Kanraj Sarkar, said a senior member of the Agantuk Club.
“TSR (Tripura State Rifles) troopers also paid their homage to the slain soldiers,” he added.
Sarkar, who conceptualised the pandal, said several especially-made oversized candles would illuminate the area.
“After the Uri attack, we changed the design of the pandal and decided to pay homage to our soldiers who sacrificed their lives for the nation. And, after the surgical strikes (across the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir), we felt there is utmost need to show our gratitude to them,” Sarkar said.
Meanwhile, though at least 2,515 community Durga Pujas, including 1,495 in rural and interior areas and about 100 family events are being held in Tripura, the one at the Durgabari temple of the erstwhile royal family remains the main attraction for numerous reasons, including for its centuries-old customs that are kept alive to this day.
The erstwhile royal family closely oversees the 500-yeaqr-old Durgabari temple’s Durga Puja, which is sponsored by Tripura’s ruling Left Front led by the Communist Party of India-Marxist. The state government’s sponsorship is mandated under the agreement by which the Tripura merged with the Indian Union on October 15, 1949.
With ‘Maha Sasthi’ or ‘Bodhan’ — the welcoming of the Durga idols — the five-day long Puja began on Friday at the Durgabari temple, located in front of the 115-year-old Ujjayanta Palace, eastern India’s biggest royal mansion, now turned into a museum.
Traditional themes, prevailing issues and events continue to dominate Puja pandals in the state with historical events forming part of the theme for decorations.
Since Friday afternoon, people have started visiting the pandals to see the imaginative decorations and Durga idols across the state. Teenagers and children are adding to the festivities.
“Unlike in the past, there are no reports about extremists creating problems or asking people not to organise the Puja. The number of Durga Pujas has also increased in rural and remote areas,” said Tripura Director General of Police K Nagaraj.