File image of rare Durga idol of Royal celebration of Darrang.Image: Northeast Now

The chanting ‘mantras’ to welcome the Goddess Durga in the early morning of Mahalaya on Saturday has heralded the advent of festive season.

It reminds all that the Durga Puja is just round the corner and Assam is all geared up.

The district of Darrang is no exception.

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Brisk preparations are going on in the 190 odd community Durga Puja of the district as the artisans are giving their final touches to the idol of Goddess Durga and other deities.

Besides these community pujas, there are three other historical puja of the Royal Koch dynasty at Gakhirkhowa Raja Howly, Dangar Raja Howli and Mohanpur Howli.

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These Durga pujas were started by Koch king Dharma Narayan nearly 400 years ago.

The significance of this Royal puja is that the face of the Goddess Durga is smeared with red colour symbolizing the deity as a warrior.

Moreover out of the main three days celebration, the common people are not allowed to take part in the first two days, that is on Maha-Saptami and Maha-Astami.

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These two days of celebrations are kept reserved for members of the royal family while on the Mahanabami these pujas are thrown open to the masses with no member of royal family attending.

Kumar Dharmendra Narayan Deb, one of the young members of the royal dynasty informed Northeast Now that brisk preparation for puja celebrations  in all three ‘Howli’s have been going on keeping in mind its pristine glory and tradition.

Animals will be sacrificed before the deity only in Gakhirkhowa Raja Howli .

“Buffalo, goats, ducks etc will be sacrificed on the day of Mahastami at Gakhirkhowa Howli,” he shared.

“In Gakhirkhowa Howli, artisan Phanindra Deka of Menapara is giving his final touches to the idol of Goddess which is of special significance.

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Like the previous years, Purnanada Bhattacharya of Sarabari, who will be the main priest, is ready to perform the puja rituals.

“A committee with Kumar Sailendra Narayan Deb as the president and Kumar Hirendra Narayan Deb as the secretary has already been formed for smooth conduct of the puja,” Deb added.

Mayukh Goswami

Mayukh Goswami is Northeast Now Correspondent in Mangaldai. He can be reached at: mayukh.mld@gmail.com

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