Agartala: With around 2,500 Durga pujas across the state, Tripura is buzzing with festive fervour.
What is drawing people to the various pandals are the thematic displays and thought provoking messages put up by the organisers and clubs who are sparing no efforts to put up grand celebrations.
The Oikatan Juba Sangatha (Shantipara), with a budget of Rs 25 lakh, has brought idol and pandal artists from Kumartuli in Kolkata.
This year, the club's puja theme is bio-diversity in sea. The puja would be held amidst a big pond with fish and other sea creatures roaming at the bottom of sea.
A colourfully lit up sea bed, with different types of aquatic plants, provide an attractive setting for the puja festivities. Designers from Kanthi in Midnapore district of West Bengal were decking up the theme.
Other organisations too are making special efforts to put up a different show from other clubs.
Among other themes on display this year include global warming put up by Shantikami Sangha, Kunjaban.
The club has placed a big globe on a lotus to convey the need to handle the earth with care.Local artisans have put up the show here.
The Goddess has only two arms in the Durgabari Temple where the pujas have been going on without break for the past 150 years. What is more significant is, the current Left Front government in the state is organising the event here, like the previous governments before it.
Durga Puja at the Durgabari temple is funded and organised by the state government and the district magistrate of West Tripura is the main sevayat of the puja.
When princely Tripura signed the instrument of accession with the Government of India on October 15, 1949, it was agreed that daily work at Durgabari temple, Tripureswari Kali Temple at Udaipur in Gomati district and some other temples would be funded and looked after by the state government.
At the 116-year-old puja in the house of Hara Chandra
Debbarma, Demon Ashura apologises with folded hands to the Goddess.
"We are Vaishnavites and don't believe in violence. Ashura, a symbol of evil is defeated by Durga, the symbol of good. He apologises to the Goddess for his misdeeds and prays for death at her hands to enter paradise," B K Debbarman, a former Director of the Archaeological Survey of India and the grandson of Hara Chandra Debbarma, said.
Started nearly 150 years ago by King Radha Kishore Manikya Bahadur, the Durgabari puja in West District still enjoys the state patronage with the administration sanctioning funds.
Radha Kishore, the most prominent among the Manikya Kings, was a patron of arts and letters with poet Rabindranath Tagore among his personal friends.
According to the record of the state administration, last year about 2,500 pujas were held in different parts of the state of which more than 1,000 pujas were held at Agartala.
The puja frenzy starts in this small state months before the actual occasion.
From sculptures of Nalanda Viswavidyalaya to a sinking Russian submarine, devastation of Kedarnath temple in Uttarakhand due to flash floods, replica of Somnath temple or even the changing lifestyle in rural areas are some of the themes on display at different puja pandals this time.
More than 10,000 security forces including the state police, paramilitary Tripura State Rifles (TSR) and CRPF have been deployed to keep a close vigil and avert any untoward incident. The Border Security Force (BSF) has been deployed to maintain a close watch on the state's 856 km border with Bangladesh as a precautionary measure.
CCTVs and long watch towers have been installed by the police and patrolling has been intensified in the remote and hilly areas, said IG (Police Control) Nepal Das.
The state-owned Pavan Hans has also introduced one 11-seater helicopter for providing interested devotees and tourists an aerial view of the Durga pujas held in the capital, at a ticket price of Rs 500 per seat.