Agartala (Tripura): It is time to celebrate thhe Durga Puja and the festival has got off to an electrifying start on the occasion of Maha Sasthi, with artistic gymnast Dipa Karmakar and her coach Bishweshwar Nandi inaugurating a community puja here.
Both expressed their happiness over celebrating Durga Puja with their family members after five years.
Dipa, an Agartala resident, told ANI, "I am participating in the puja after five years and I am feeling good that after a long time I am able to enjoy puja with my family members, friends and coaches. I am visiting from one `mandap` to another for inaugurating the puja.
"Dipa was awarded with the Khel Ratna recently, while her coach Bishweshwar Nandi received the Dronacharya Award."
Various themes and recent incidents were used by puja committees to attract the crowd. Some of the clubs also remembered and paid homage to the 19 Uri attack bravehearts.
Narayan Dey, an organiser said, "We are able to enjoy this festival, because there are people who are guarding our borders day and night. Only few days back, some Pakistani militants in a coward attack killed 19 soldiers in Jammu and Kashmir`s Uri. They laid down their lives for the nation, so we are remembering them on this festival. We are also protesting against the Pakistani attacks.
"Meanwhile, thousands of men, women and children thronged the streets of Agartala, making rounds of different marquees. Many people, who could not return to their home states, are also enjoying the festival here.
A Kolkata resident, Indrani Adhikari, who is here during Durga Puja for the first time, said though she is enjoying the festival here, she is missing home.
The usual five-day autumn carnival is the biggest in eastern and northeastern India and is being celebrated across the state with religious fervour. The community pujas number around 2,500 this year, of which, 1,500 are taking place in remote tribal areas.
Hundreds of people from all communities and religions were seen hopping from one pandal (makeshift temple) to another. Many imaginary pandals with intricate designs using thermocol (polystyrene), plywood and colourful lights also attracted visitors.