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With more than 300 Puja Pandals, Durga Puja Celebrations pick up pace in twin cities of Odisha

To ensure an incident-free Dussehra, the commissionerate police have tightened security in the twin cities

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Durga Puja, Wikimedia

Bhubaneswar, Oct 9: Durga Puja celebrations have picked up pace in the twin cities of Odisha — Bhubaneswar and Cuttack — with people thronging the pandals to seek blessings of Goddess Durga.

More than 300 major puja pandals and innumerable smaller ones in Cuttack and Bhubaneswar have come alive with stunning decorations and sparkling lights. People are moving from pandal to pandal to seek and admire the puja decorations created on different themes.

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People were also seen shopping in malls and enjoying delicacies at eateries across the twin cities.

However, weather may play spoilsport during Durga Puja celebrations as the Indian Meteorological Department has forecast rainfall in the wake of an upper air cyclonic circulation formed over the Bay of Bengal.

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“The rainfall would continue till October 10. However, there would be moderate rainfall with intervals,” said Bhubaneswar Met Office Director Sarat Chandra Sahu.

To ensure an incident-free Dussehra, the commissionerate police have tightened security in the twin cities.

Police Commissioner Y.B. Khurania said the police has made elaborate arrangements for vehicular traffic management and upkeep of law and order situation during the puja and idol immersion.

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While police aid posts were set up at different places, patrolling also has been intensified. The Quick Reaction Team (QRT) and Striking Force have also been stationed, he added.

To keep a close watch on anti-social elements, CCTV cameras have been installed at strategic points, including at the puja pandals. Surveillance is also being maintained in crowded market places, hotels, restaurants and malls. (IANS)

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Kashmere Gate Durga Puja is the 108 Years Old Annual Ritual in Delhi

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Kashmere Gate Durga Puja
Durga Puja. IANS

New Delhi, Sep 24, 2017: Kolkata might be the cynosure of Durga Puja celebrations, but not far behind is the national capital, which plays host to more than 350 pandals (marquees). And the Kashmere Gate Durga Puja has been continuing this yearly ritual for the past 108 years, making it Delhi’s oldest Puja.

Its theme has always been traditional. From maintaining the quintessential “sabeki ek-chala-thakur” (traditional one platform) goddess Durga to carrying the idol in a bullock cart for the “visarjan” (immersion), this Puja stands out against the rest.

“The bullock cart visarjan is organised only by us. No other pandals organise such a procession in the national capital,” Samarendra Bose, a committee member of the Delhi Durga Puja Samiti, told IANS.

“And the Bhog! It is also a highlight of our celebration. Every year we feed the afternoon meal to around five to six thousand people. And on Ashtami (the eighth day), the turnout crosses more than 10,000. It’s a big responsibility on our shoulders and we make sure that everything goes smoothly during the Puja,” he said.

Also Read: Devotees Offer Prayers to Goddess Durga and Observe Fast for Nine Divine Nights, Starting Today

There’s quite a history attached to this Puja. Due to the efforts of an unnamed railway employee, the first Puja was organised in 1909 at the Roshanpura Kali Mandir near Nai Sarak. From 1913 to 1946, the Puja used to be organised in a dharamshala (community hall) near Fatehpuri Mosque. Later it was shifted to the Bengali Senior Secondary School at Alipur Road near Civil Lines but the nomenclature continued unchanged.

“In the initial years, the idol used to be brought from Benaras, but from 1926, the idol began to be made in the city itself. And now it’s made within the school premises,” Bose stated.

What hasn’t changed are the customs associated with the Puja. No matter how popular theme pujas are becoming, the Kashmere Gate Durga Puja continues to be a traditional one.

“Theme idols can never reflect the charm or the beauty of a traditional one. We don’t bring the idol from CR Park or Kolkata; rather it is made inside the school premises, like the way it happens in home Pujas,” Bose pointed out.

For the five days the Puja lasts, the atmoshphere within the pandal turns into a mini Bengal. From people clad in their traditional attire to cultural programmes and, of course, Bengali’s favourite cuisine — biryani — turns it into a major draw.

“We organise cultural programmes but only the local residents participate. We don’t invite artists (like most pandals do). Also, we make sure that at least during the five days, all the functions are conducted in Bengali,” Bose said.

The charm of this Durga Puja couldn’t even be ignored by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, who visited the pandal in 1969. Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose is also believed to have attended the celebrations in 1935.

“The priest and the dhakis (drummers) have been brought from Kolkata. We make sure that there is no dearth of bhog. After all it’s a major attraction of Kashmere Gate Durga Puja,” Bose said.

So, make sure that Kashmere Gate Puja is on the must-visit pandals list this year! (IANS)

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Get Your Home Festive Ready for Dussehra and Diwali!

Can't wait for Dussehra and Diwali? Neither can we! These tips will help you get your house festive-ready!

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Diwali
From decorating the halls to hosting friends and family, use our tips and tricks for making your home ready for Diwali and Dussehra. Pixabay

New Delhi, September 9, 2017 : With Dussehra and Diwali round the corner, get your home festive ready with thorough cleaning, cushions in silk, chanderi or zari embroidered fabrics, fresh flowers and scented candles, suggest experts.

Dipti Das, Design Head at interior design and decor online platform HomeLane and interior designer Pramitha Roche, have shared ideas on how you can decorate your home tastefully for Dussehra and Diwali :

  •  Use traditional hand-crafted fabrics and prints. Silks, chanderi, fabrics with batik or block prints and zari embroidery are all the rage. You can also add some traditional carpets.
  •  Use copper and brass crockery when guests come calling.
  • Add mirrors with embellished or copper-toned frames to add a little bling to your interiors.
  •  Instead of painting the whole house, use one prominent wall and paint it with a pretty motif or adorn it with a decal or wall hanging to add to the festive spirit.
  •  Good lighting can easily set the right mood. Light up your home in layers with some ornate lighting fixtures and lamps.
  •  Highlight a wall by painting it in cheerful earthy warm hues like solar yellow, rustic red and emerald green.
  •  Fresh flowers and scented candles are ideal for those who want to keep the decor understated.
  •  Ensure your towels, napkins, table runner and door mats are in the same vibrant shade to keep symmetry going.
  • Bring out the prized centrepieces for your coffee table and dining table. (IANS)

 

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Indian Seismologist Arun Bapat had Predicted China Earthquake on August 8

Bapat’s prediction based on surface temperatures also turned out to be correct in the case of an earthquake in Manipur early this year

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Indian Seismologist succesfully preditcs several earthquakes beforehand by studying data,.
Earthquake prediction enables emergency measures to reduce death and destruction. Pixabay
  • Indian seismologist correctly predicts China earthquake beforehand by studying changes in scientific data and temperatures
  • Scientific technology used for short-term earthquake forecasting and prediction witnessing continuous progression

Bengaluru, August 13, 2017 : Indian seismologist Arun Bapat had warned, a day before it struck, of the the 6.5 magnitude earthquake that rocked China on August 8, killing close to 40 people and forcing the evacuation of thousands more.

“I daily visit the website of the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) for various geological, meteorological, ionospheric and seismic parameters,” Bapat, a former chief of earthquake research at the Central Water and Power Research Station in Pune, told IANS.

“On August 7, around midnight, I saw a satellite infra-red photo showing a thermal high in the China-Japan region that was not there five hours earlier.”

Bapat — a consulting seismologist at International Earthquake and Volcano Prediction Centre headquartered in Orlando, Florida — knew this was a sign of a moderate to a large magnitude earthquake. He immediately alerted seismologists in his group in an email warning that “an earthquake should occur within the next 18 to 24 hours”.

That forecast turned out to be correct. “Predicted China earthquake happened,” Hong-Chun Wu, a Chinese seismologist, responded in an email on August 8.

Indian seismologist correctly predicts chinese earthquake
The blinking red light on a seismograph shows the epicentre of the earthquake. (representational image) Wikimedia

“This only confirms that the science of short-term earthquake forecasting and prediction is really progressing,” said Bapat who had predicted the 7.2-magnitude Mexico earthquake of April 18, 2014, two months before the event.

Bapat’s confidence stems from the string of correct predictions he had made using satellite readings of seismological and geophysical parameters like ‘Total Electron Content’ and ‘Outgoing Long Wave Radiation’ in addition to infra-red images of the Earth.

For instance, on April 14, 2017, in an email to the Chief Secretary of Jammu and Kashmir, Bapat wrote: “During my routine check of various earthquake-related parameters it has been found that the area near Bhaderwah could perhaps be heading for an earthquake of magnitude around 5.5 within next few days.” A 5 magnitude earthquake did occur four days later, some 80 km from Kargil, as predicted.

Bapat’s prediction based on surface temperatures also turned out to be correct in the case of an earthquake in Manipur early this year.

On February 23, he alerted the North-East Disaster Management Authority in an email: “The temperatures at three locations indicate the likely occurrence of an earthquake of magnitude around 5.0 within next few days. The epicenter could be within 70 km from any of the above locations. Most vulnerable dates could be 25/26 Feb.”

An earthquake of magnitude 5.2 did occur in Churachandpur district of Manipur on February 24. “The magnitude and location were fully correct,” Bapat said. “Only the date was missed by a few hours.”

Satellite-borne data, freely available on IMD website, could be effectively used for short-term earthquake forecasting and prediction on a 24×7 basis, he said. Besides satellite data, there are seismic precursors arising from “seismo-electromagnetic effect” that are worth watching, Bapat said.

“Before the occurrence of any moderate to large magnitude earthquake, the underground location where the rupture takes place gets heated. As the temperature rises, the geomagnetic field of the earth at that location goes on decreasing which adversely affects the propagation and reception of electromagnetic waves and communication.” The impact of this, Bapat said, can be observed by anyone with a telephone or television set.

About two days before an earthquake, landline telephone communication gets disturbed; radio reception fades away about 30 to 40 hours before the event and television reception gets disturbed about 10 hours before earthquake, Bapat said.

“If all mobile telephones in a radius of 15 km or more are affected, it could be a sign of earthquake within the next 100 minutes. This was noted for the first time prior to the 1993 Latur earthquake in Maharashtra, in Bhuj before the destructive quake of January 26, 2001, and prior to the 7.5 magnitude Kathmandu earthquake on April 25, 2015.”

“I would like to say with sufficient level of confidence that using electronics and satellite-borne data would definitely give good result-oriented earthquake predictions. All State Disaster Management Authorities (DMAs) and the NDMA are requested to consider this seriously,” Bapat said.

“In view of the predicted large magnitude earthquake in the Himalayan region, it is the right time to act now,” he added. (IANS)


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