Kolkata, Jul 10 (PTI) With two and half months to go for Bengal’s biggest festival Durga puja, several community Puja committee have organised ‘khuti puja’, a customary ritual before putting up pandals, to initiate the festivities.

From the heavyweight Singhi Park to Behala Club in the far south, from award winner Nalin Sarkar Street Sarbojonin in northern parts to Santoshpur Avenue South, altogether 24 puja committees organised ‘Khuti puja’ yesterday, heralding the construction of pandals.

“We had been organising khuti puja following all rituals and this rings in the festive season. Khuti puja has become the norm of sarbojonin pujas in Kolkata and elsewhere in the state,” a spokesman of the Singhi Park Puja Committee said.

“We got a ‘saal’ log decked up with flowers and leaves and this pole will be kept at the centre of the pandal,” he said.

Agreeing that Khuti puja has caught up in a big way in the city, a member of Dumdum Park Bharat Chakra said, “Puja is a big occasion for the neighbourhood). See how many from the locality have assembled today braving drizzle.” Not faraway from Singhi Park, award winners Ballygunj Cultural and Abasar, also observed the ritual, starting the making of pandal where the goddess and her progeny will be kept and worshipped for five days.

‘Khuti puja was also held yesterday at lesser known pujas like Natun Sangha (Behala), Pallimangal Samity, Georgebagan Sarbojonin, Sangrami (Ultadanga), Nandana Juba Sangha, Raipur Club, Barisha Tarun Tirtha, Basakbagan Sarbojonin, Unnayani Sangha, Natunpalli Sarbojonin Durgotsab, Pragati Sangha, Diamond City South Welfare Association, Sarkarbagan Sammilito Sangho.

On the day of Rath Yatra, an auspicious occasion, puja committees like Tala Park, Santoshpur Lake Pally, Bhawanipore 75 Pally also observed Khuti Puja besides many others.

Khuti puja tradition comes from the tradition of centuries-old ‘Kathamo puja’ or the wooden frame on which the clay idol is built at ‘bonedi barir pujo’ (household pujas).

Sripati Banerjee, one of the members of the around 200-year old ‘Banerjee Bari’ puja in North Kolkata, said “Our Kathamo pujo took place on the day of Rath Yatra as is the tradition for years. We learn a neighbourhood puja has been doing khuti puja from this year. This is a new trend.”

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.