266-Yr-Old Saga: Silver City ‘Sarpa Durga’ Noteworthy For Hierarchical Rituals, Idol Immersion Must On Dussehra

**Cuttack**: The nine-day long Navratri showcases grand glimpses of the great traditions followed by the devotees across the country. The millennium city of Cuttack also invokes the divine Goddess with great grandiosity which can be witnessed in the several pandals constructed all over the city.

The ‘Sarpa Durga’ Puja Mandap has been active since last 266 years and was started in 1752 by the then zamindar Shri Swaroop Chandra Das who had come to Cuttack from Ramgarh in West Bengal’s Murshidabad.

His great grandson Hemant Kumar Das informed, “We have kept the old tradition alive which was started by my great great grandfather at his abode. The idol and medha are carved by artists who are the descendants of original craftsmen. Even the pandit of the puja mandap is hierarchical and the whole puja is done with great devotion following all the rituals.”

Initially started as a household puja, this mandap has developed itself as a committee puja mandap with all the 7 Sahis of Buxi Bazaar joining hands to make it a success, enlightened Ashish Kumar Das.

“There is a Chandi Path conducted every morning and ‘alati’ in the evening. The Zamindar used to conduct Kali Puja also. Now the tradition is zealously followed by the descendants,” he further added.

The most vital role played by the ‘Sarpa Durga’ goddess is that it is the first idol to be immersed, and that too, on the day of Dussehra.

“Some of the other idols are also immersed on the Dussehra Day. But, as per our tradition, we never postpone the date, whatever contingency may arise. Be it any cyclonic storm or any other emergency situation, the idol is immersed on that day only,” informed Manoj Das, talking to OMMCOM NEWS.

According to folklore, it is believed during its first puja by the Zamindar, the ‘Goddess’ devoured his daughter on Dussehra evening during the ‘alati’ time. This prompted him to immerse the idol of the goddess before the ‘arati’ time on Dussehra, which is ritualistically followed since years.

After the immersion of this Goddess, the other idols follow suit.

“The bisarjan (immersion) is carried without any melody or pomp and show, in a very simple manner,” informed Arjun Sahu, a Committee member.

“The once household puja has now upgraded to a community puja. We have started ‘Chandi Medha’ (silver filigree) and are trying to upgrade it to ‘Suna Medha’(gold) with the grace and blessings of the Goddess,” he further said.