Puri decks up for Gosani Yatra to conclude Durga Puja

Odisha’s famed beach-city Puri, known as a huge tourist attraction both domestically and internationally, is also a land of festivals. Throughout the course of the year, around thirteen religious processions are taken out in Puri. One of them is the Gosani Yatra, another name for Durga Puja, celebrated widely in the state and neighbouring Bengal. However, unlike the conventional Durga Pujas, the faces and figures of Gosani are different. Even the idol of Durga is different in Puri, which depicts the Mahisamardini Durga.

The yatra features not only the idols of the Goddess, but also portrays other characters like Ravana lifting Kailash Mountain, the Nagas, and the demons. The Nagas are male figures that symbolise heroism in Puri’s Akhada culture. They are sculpted as creatures with a human head and a snake-like torso.

Batakrushna Pratihari, a priest at Puri’s Jagannath Temple said that every year, Goddess Durga’s idols are made eighteen to twenty feet high. “Apart from the four Dhams of Hindu religion, there is also a temple of Goddess Bimla Devi inside the main temple, which is a ‘Shakti Peeth’. We make more than 30 idols of the goddess during Navratri, and worship them for 3 days. On the day of Ekadashi, we light a big Diya, and after watching it, we conduct the immersion the idols,” said Pratihari.

However, due to COVID-19, the Odisha High Court initially ordered that idols must not be greater than four feet. Thereafter, a review petition was filed by the Satasahi Puja Committee of Puri and the High Court gave its nod to continue with the tradition of building 18-20 feet idols. “The committee had told the court that as the Gosani Yatra is held as per the tradition of the Jagannath temple, the height of idol of the Goddess should remain as usual,” said Srikrushna Pratihari, organiser of Gosani Durga Puja in Puri.