Although Bokajan is relatively a small town, it attracts a large number of people during the four days of Durga Puja.
A pandit performing Aarti at Durga Puja, Bokajan.
By Mithu Das October 24, 2018
I had been thinking to visit Bokajan on Durga Puja festival for a long time. Actually, I wanted to write a blog on Durga Puja of Bokajan like I’d written this one in 2017. So, after spending the first two days of puja at home, in Golaghat—eating, drinking, sleeping, and listening music—the third day, on Navami, I called my brother-in-law who lives at Bokajan.
"Hello, Hari, happy pujo!"
"Happy pujo Bhai, thank you!"
"Bokajan-e ashbo naki puja dekhte?" I said, in Bengali, and laughed. "I suppose if you're expecting me to see at Bokajan this Durga Puja!"
“Of course we are,” said Hari enthusiastically. “Asse porun Bhai.”
Then I heard the voice of my sister on the phone: "Oi! Koi ghore asot? Bokajan-e abina puja dekhte?"
Next, I heard the voice of my cousin Khushi: "Mama, Tumi koisila na Puja dekhte aiba? Haven’t you promised that you’d visit at Durga Puja?"
”Yes, I have,” I said. “And I’m going to Bokajan this afternoon, I promise.”
At about 3:30 pm I went to Furkating Railway Junction. It was a wonderful sunny day and I strongly felt about puja festival everywhere. The main street near the railway station was fairly crowded. Cars and buses were carrying mela-goers and other passengers from Furkating to Golaghat, and vice versa.
I entered the railway station and sat on a bench. After about half an hour the local train arrived. It was 12 minutes late though nobody seemed to be upset about it. I bought a ticket and got on the train. After a few minutes it started to move, slowly. It was moving for about ten minutes or so, then it came to a halt at a station where some passengers got off the train while others got on. A few minutes later it started to move again and before it could gather any speed it stopped again, at another station. Needless to say, by the time we had reached Bokajan—after seven stations and two and a half hours—the dusk had fell.
Bokajan, which belongs to Karbi Anglong district, Assam, lies on the bank of the Dhansiri river. It is mainly known for its cement factory which is run by Cement Corporation of India or C.C.I. Although Bokajan is relatively a small town, it attracts a large number of people during the four days of Durga Puja. The main market town spreads on the road from Bokajan Police Station to the railway station. The distance between these two places could be roughly one and a half kilometres. Surprisingly, most of the puja pandals could be seen alongside the road within this very short of distance.
That evening when we—Hari, my sister, Khushi and I—were roaming the mela I counted at least nine puja pandals on the road. The melas were organised beside the pandals, either side of the road, where different kinds of shops were opened. There were sweet shops, clothes shops, shoe shops, gift shops, and children’s toy shops. Puja-going people were gathered around these shops, buying their favorite things among which sweets were the mostly chosen, especially the jalebi sweet. The next most highly demanded thing, I guessed, was probably the toys which children were asking their parents for.
We had visited each pandal, paid our homage to Maa Durga and took some photographs. On the way back home we entered Radha Govinda Mandir where we had been watching Durga Aarti dance for about one and a half hours.
The next day we went to celebrate Dashami—the day on which idols of Durga are immersed in rivers or lakes. The street was full of people. Caravans of trucks loaded with idols of Durga were slowly heading towards the Dhansiri river, leading by people who were dancing wildly down the street.
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