Mumbai, Oct 20 (IANS) Mumbai's tallest idol of Goddess Durga, 22 feet in height, was unveiled at the Sarbojanik Durga Puja in Andheri here Saturday.
Amidst chanting of the 'Chandi Path' by a group of 12 priests from Varanasi, thousands of devotees got a preview 'darshan' (glimpse) of the goddess as Durga Puja celebrations got underway at 105 public 'Durgotsavs' in Mumbai, Thane and Raigad.
The idol has been created by Amit Pal, son of the legendary idol-maker, the late Nimai Pal, and his team. They have added the finest details of Goddess Durga, the vanquished demon Mahishasur, the lion and the buffalo, Goddess Lakshmi, Lord Ganesh, Goddess Saraswati and Lord Kartik.
The team of priests, led by Pandit Kedarnath shall also perform the main Maa Durga Puja headed by Kedar Mukherjee, of Dumjur Howrah, Kolkata, said Romeer Sen, joint secretary of the Sarbojanik Durga Puja, D N Nagar (Andheri West).
A 20-strong group of musicians - Dhaki players, headed by Sudham Das and Khokan Das from Midnapore shall add to the sound beats and rhythm during the occasion.
"This is our fourth year of celebrations and we expect several thousands of devotees in the pandal spread over an area of one-and-a-half acres," Sen told IANS.
"This year, we are creating a palace set up, because this is what we see as Durga Maa's house. We are doing it in a very polished and stylish manner," Sen explained.
Referring to the pandal, counted among the best in the country, Sen said that the "real work is behind the scenes, by over one thousand people who struggle to make all this come alive" for the devotees.
The season's festive offerings, including the special 'Bhog' will be prepared by Chef Chandan with all food and ingredients supplied by Hotel Sahara Star, in five-star air-conditioned comforts.
A series of programmes are lined up for the devotees, including a classical dance performance by the event brand ambassador Rituparna Sengupta, Sarod maestro Sanjay Chakravarthy, comedian Raju Shrivastav, Usha Uthup, Shakuntala Barua, Saapna Mukerjee and Kunal Ganjavala.
The organisers have deployed elaborate security comprising 80 security guards for the puja pandal besides a dog squad and other automatic surveillance systems in place.