13 October 2019
Bhubaneswar: The 11-day long Laxmi Puja has begun in Odisha from Sunday. The Gajalaxmi Puja starts from Kumar Purnima which falls on the first full moon day of Ashvin month and is celebrated with utmost reverence. Elaborate arrangements are being made in places like Dhenkanal, Kendrapada and Angul as the towns are soaked in a spirit of festive fervor and gaiety.
Massive idols of goddess Laxmi with awesome pandal decorations and illuminated gates mark the festival in Dhenkanal. People throng to the town to see the dazzling pandals and relish the delicious street food.
This year, as many as 38 puja pandals are made for Laxmi Puja in which lakhs of rupees has been spent to celebrate it a grand manner. The district administration has made elaborate arrangements to ensure a smooth conduct of the festival. While the Jawahar Chowk Puja Committee entered its 75th year of puja celebrations, its centenary celebrations for the Jenadevi Bazar Puja Committee. Both the committees are set for grand celebrations this year.
In Angul, a total of 29 puja pandals have been made to welcome Maa Laxmi. Different Puja Committees have invested not just money but also their love and affection for the Goddess in the decoration of pandals.
The festival will continue for 11 days and elaborate arrangements have been made to avoid any untoward activities. The ‘Bhasani Utsav’ or ceremonial immersion will be conducted on October 24. The district administration, Police officials and the puja committees are working in sync for smooth and organized celebrations.
Coming to folklore, the handsome son of lord Shiva ‘Kartikeya’ was born on Kumari Purnima. So, unmarried girls in Orissa and West Bengal worship Sun God and Moon God on this day to get a husband like Kartikeya. They get up early in the morning, take a bath and offer food to Sun God. After observing fast for the whole day, they make offerings to the Moon God when it comes out in the sky, mention religious texts.
In southern Odisha, this day is celebrated as Gajalaxmi Puja, the birthday of Goddess Laxmi. People propitiate Laxmi and night vigils are observed, according to a belief Goddess Laxmi goes around visiting people, and shows her blessings on those who are awake at nights.