Guwahati: Magical exploits of Harry Potter, armed poachers in the Kaziranga National Park being thwarted by Ma Durga, wondrous mysteries of Ajanta and Elora caves and a fasting Anna Hazare -- puja revellers in Guwahati have never had it so good. And as the proverbial icing on the cake of merriment, revellers are lavished with diverse mouth-watering food, the piece de resistance being special Chinese dishes prepared by stat hotels for the occasion.
"An electrifying festive atmosphere prevails in this hip and happening hub of the Northeast during the puja days and we are all enjoying it," says a beaming jeans-clad youngster accompanied by his friends at one of the well-known pujas - the Beltola community puja.
A giant replica of the Kaziranga park has been erected on the dias of the Beltala puja where clay images of poachers, armed with automatic weapons, target the endangered one-horned rhinos among tall elephant grasses.
The poachers retreat after being confronted with demon-slaying Ma Durga mounted on elephant, her `bahan`.
Manabendra Sarma, one of the organisers, said their effort this time was to highlight the growing problem of poaching in the KNP and create awareness about preserving the rare animal.
The Nayantara puja committee on the other hand has recreated Harry Potter adventures through idols made by artisans who saw some of the child magician`s movies several times to bring forth the feel of adventures.
"Utmost care has been taken by the artists who have seen the Harry Potter movies several times," Utbhav Das, a puja committee member, said.
Similarly, pandal-hoppers got to see the exotic structure of Ajanta and Elora caves at the Binapani puja mandap.
At the Nayantara puja pandal a replica of Ram Leela Maidan has been created where a statue of Anna Hazare is seen sitting on his fast, drawing a huge crowd.
A star attraction is the Bhutnath puja pandal in the heart of the city where Goddess Durga is seated inside a umbrella-shaped structure built by a mixture of 1000 kg masoor dal, 250 kg mustard seed and 25 kg of `Bhuth Jalakiya`, the world`s hottest chilli.
At the Kamarpatti puja pandal, Goddess Durga is dwarfed by a 30-foot Mahisasura idol, his bestial intimidating look look made more pronounced by blinking red lights.
"Our effort is not to belittle the benign presence of Ma durga, but to bring to attention the presence of evil in the form of corruption and violence throughout the country," Madhab Das said.
More than a thousand food stalls have been opened all over the city to enable the revellers to sample choicest food.
"Our main effort will be to enable revellers to experience the feeling of being in China. We serve food which are favourites in various provinces of China including Beijing and Hunan and this has become a hit," Pijush Kanti Das, the manager of the Guwahati unit of Mainland China, said.