STORY: Artisans across India have been burning the midnight oil as they prepare idols and marquees of various designs ahead of celebrations of Hindu festival of ‘Durga Puja’.
Artists in India’s eastern Siliguri city were seen working on a special heritage train-themed marquee in order to give a different experience to the devotees visiting the tents during the festival to offer prayers.
Similar scenes played out in northeastern Guwahati and eastern Cuttack cities where preparations for the festival were in full swing with idols of various gods and goddesses in different designs being made ahead of the nine-day festival.
‘Navratri’ is a nine-day-long festival which celebrates the victory of Durga over the evil buffalo-demon king Mahishasura. The goddess represents power and the feminine force. The festival of ‘Navratri’ holds immense importance in Hinduism. It is believed that during the festival goddess Durga descends on earth to rid it of demons and bless her devotees with happiness and prosperity.
It concludes with the celebration of ‘Dussehra’ – the day when Hindu Lord Rama defeated demon king Ravana and rescued his abducted wife Sita.
Meanwhile, a gigantic statue of Ravana measuring over 200 foot was being constructed in northern Panchkula city.
Millions of Hindus fast and offer prayers to please the goddess during this festival, some spurn meat, onions and garlic in their diets. Devotees believe that by controlling physical needs like hunger, a person can gain spiritually and that fasting helps create harmony between the body and soul.