Gold and silver backdrops to idols dazzle devotees in Cuttack

Bhubaneswar, Oct 22 (IANS) Kolkata may host the most lavish Durga puja pandals in the country with elaborate decorations, but lakhs of devotees are thronging to Odisha’s Cuttack city known for its silver and gold tableaux.

The millennium city of Cuttack is glittering in gold and silver backdrops for the idols of Goddess Durga while decorated pandals and dazzling illumination are stealing the show.

Sources said 21 puja committees in the city have put up the silver tableaux locally known as ‘chandi medha’ and five of the elite puja pandals have decorated the idols with gold crowns and jewels.

While the number of chandi medhas was 14 in 2011, it has increased to 21 with four puja committees – Pithapur, Khatbin Sahu, Mangalabagh and Budhithakurani – joining the elite club, said Mahanagar Shanti Committee secretary Bhikari Das.

A keen sense of competition has pushed several puja committees to embrace giant silver filigree backdrops made of pure silver in the past decade, which has turned out to be a fashion and tradition in the city, said an organiser of Mangalabagh puja committee.

Sources said the use of gold was first started by Choudhury Bazar puja committee, which made gold crowns for the deities in 2002.

Besides Durga, other deities are also crowned with the yellow metal on Dussehra.

In capital Bhubaneswar, massive Puja pandals showcasing different themes are drawing huge crowds from the state and outside.

While Jharpada Durga puja committee has created the model of Cybele Palace of Madrid, Nayapalli puja committee came up with a replica of the Art of Living ashram.

At Sahid nagar, a spectacular ‘Medinipur theme gate’ has been crafted to draw massive crowds.

Youngsters could be seen taking selfies with the pandals in the background and posting them on social media, drawing like from friends.

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