Bhubaneswar: Durgashtami is the eighth day of the Durga festival that is celebrated across various parts of India.
This day is attributed to Goddess Shakti, an avatar of Durga who is symbolic of eternal power and the victory of ‘good’ over the ‘evil’.
Durgashtami is celebrated on the eighth day of Navratri that commences from Mahalaya in the Hindu month of Ashwin. Durga ashtami falls in the Shukla paksha of the lunar phase.
According to Hindu customs, Ashtami celebrations begin with mahasnan or a grand bath to rid oneself of impurities. This ritual is followed by installing nine small pots to invoke nine Shaktis of goddess Durga and then they are worshipped during Mahashtami puja.
On this auspicious day, devotees tend to observe rigorous fast, feast and worship for Goddess Durga who symbolizes strength. A celebration of traditional culture and customs, massive idols of Goddess Durga are installed throughout India while enormous puja pandals are set up at various places for devotees to visit and worship.
During the worship the eight avatars of Durga called Ashtanayikas are also worshipped which include Brahmani, Indrani, Vaishnavi, Varahi, Narasinghi, Kameshwari, Maheshwari and Chamunda.
On this day, the deity is worshipped as Goddess Gauri. To observe this, nine small virgin girls are worshipped, their feet are washed and they are offered halwa (a sweet disg made of semolina, milk, ghee and nuts), puri and kheer a part of the ritual.
Durgashtami ends with the sandhi puja that ushers the next day Mahanavami.
According to the latest Covid guideline for the month of October and the ongoing festive seasons in the State, night curfew shall be imposed from 8 PM to 5 AM from today till October 20 in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack cities.
Reportedly, all the shops, malls, restaurants shall be open till 8 pm. All religious festivals/ festivities/ functions shall be held/ celebrated/ observed as per the Covid guidelines. “This is a critical period as there may be a tendency to ignore COVID – safe behaviour during festivals, resulting in large gatherings, events, fairs etc.
It is critical to enforce adherence to guidelines to allow festivities in a cautious, safe and Covid appropriate manner. Any laxity in implementation of Covid Appropriate Behavior could lead to serious consequences and can result in a surge in cases,” stated the order.
As many as 32 platoon police force including 100 police officers and more than 150 home-guards will be deployed at 20 check posts in Cuttack. A special drive against open drinking in public places all over the city is underway, informed Cuttack DCP Prateek Singh.
Around 41 habitual offenders have been held before the onset of Durga Puja, while a list of rest 203 offenders have been prepared and a manhunt has been initiated to apprehend them. The police officers will be stationed at various stations in plain clothes in order to keep a strict check on the night curfew regulations.