Fiberglass Durga idol. Image credit: The Hindu

Durga Puja celebrations in Mizoram has witnessed a drastic change as people here don’t immerse the idols Goddess and others on Vijaya Dashami.

The people here preserve the idols and reuse it the next year, thereby cutting down on the cost and also curbing the ecological degradation in return.

But things were not like this in this Christian dominated state until a few years back.

Most of the temples of the state, which has an 87 per cent Christian population, are managed by the Central Gorkha Mandir Committee, five of which are here in Aizawl.

Till 2011 the clay idols were brought in from Silchar in Assam and were immersed in water on Vijaya Dashami.

Since some chemicals were used in the clay idols and immersing them threatened the water bodies, the puja committees decided to do away with clay idols and find an alternative.

And accordingly, the committees switched to the images of the Goddess and her entourage printed on flex.

The committees began using a dollop of the earth as a symbolic idol for worshipping along with used biodegradable materials for conducting the puja and later immersed them in various streams and rivers as per the convenience of each temple administration.

“In 2016, we decided to change to a fibreglass idol,” reported The Hindu quoting Pratap Chhetri, a local resident.

“The bigger temple at Bawngkawn has a 5ft idol while the one at Om Mandir in Thuampui, our locality, is smaller,” he added.

Each fibreglass Durga idol is stored in a consecrated place within the temple complex after the Puja and brought out for the next year’s celebration.

“The Mother is always around us,” Chhetri said.

Mizoram’s unique way of celebrating Durga Puja without hampering the ecology, in fact, can be replicated elsewhere as well.

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