Dhaka – The biggest Hindu religious festival began Tuesday with the incarnation of goddess Durga amid tight security across Bangladesh, a Muslims-majority country.
The ceremony of annual Hindu religious worship is called Durga Puja, named after the goddess whose mythology centers around combating evils and demonic forces that threaten peace and prosperity.
Durga is depicted in the Hindu pantheon as a fearless woman riding a lion or tiger, with many arms each carrying a weapon, often defeating the mythical buffalo demon.
Temples across Bangladesh were decorated with the statue of the goddess, where Hindus go bow their heads to obtain blessings for peace and prosperity. The central festival is taking place in Dhakeshwari Temple in Palasy.
Recitation of verses from the Holy Chandi, blowing of conch shells and beating of dhak-dhols at temples and pandals started this morning to be continued for five days.
The festival will come to an end with the emersion of the idols of goddess Durga in the nearby rivers and water bodies on Saturday.
President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina conveyed greetings to the members of the Hindu community in separate messages on the occasion of the festival.
Bangladesh Puja Udjapan Parishad, the largest organization of Hindu community, decided to curtail the expanses of the festival to help the persecuted Rohingya people.
The exodus of Rohingyas to Bangladesh fleeing violence in Rakhine state of Myanmar has unfolded a horrific humanitarian crisis, said Taposh Kumar Paul, a leader of the committee.
“We will come up with assistance for the persecuted Rohingya by saving cost of Dugra Puja festival,” he added.
Draped in new dresses, a large numbers of devotees irrespective of ages have been thronging to Dhakeshwari National Temple to offer prayers before the goddess seeking blessings for welfare of the country and its people.
A total of 30,077 permanent and temporary sites (pandals) were developed across the country. Two hundred and thirty-one sites were developed in the capital Dhaka.
Security measures have been beefed up at temples and pandals with deployment of additional squads of Ansar, police, Rapid Action Battalion and other law enforcement agencies for peaceful celebration of the festival.
All celebration committees have installed close circuit cameras and metal detectors at the entry points of the celebration sites.