GOPALPUR, ODISHA, India -- Devotees holding at least 8000 lit earthen lamps lent additional glitter to the ongoing Hindu Festival of Durga Puja also known as Dussera at Surat in India's western state of Gujarat on Saturday, October 12th.
Devotees from all walks of life participated in this grand event.
The brightly lit lamps in the night were a grand spectacle for the onlookers as the devotees offered Aarati to the deity of Durga, a conventional Hindu ritual performed during worship, usually as the finale.
"A huge crowd gathers here in Beta Garba Ground. About 108 earthen lamps are being illuminated for praying the Hindu Goddess Durga. But this time there were 8000 lamps being illuminated. It feels great that people gather in such numbers in this ground and seek the blessings of Goddess," said President of Beta Garba function, Rajeshbhai Mehta.
Clad in colorful ethnic dresses, hundreds of devotees took part in the Ras Dandiya and Garba dances.
Similar event of Dandiya and Garba dances of Gujarat were also staged at Agartala in the eastern state of Tripura, predominantly a province of Bengalis.
The organizing committee of this function in Agartala included not just families hailing from Gujarat, but the response from other communities was overwhelming to reflect the apex of communal harmony.
"I am finding lot of Bengali families coming from Tripura. Across the Tripura lot of Rajasthani families coming across the Tripura. They are coming and they are enjoying this function. If you see on these we have only five Gujarati families but they are organizing as such supporting then in all respect and this is being celebrated as a communal harmony program," said Rattan Singh, an organizer of Dandia and Garba dance event in Agartala.
The Durga Puja or Dussera is celebrated for nine days and this year, it commenced on October 05.