Shillong, Oct 19 (UNI) Hundreds of devotees thronged the pandals on the occasion of Durga Puja today with authorities making elaborate security arrangements to avert any untoward incident during the religious festival in the predominantly Christian state of Meghalaya.
Young and old attired in their new clothes were seen gathering at pandals to get ''darshan'' and ''ashirvad'' of Goddess Durga.
A total of 141 puja pandals had been set up across Meghalaya with different puja samitis vying to give their respective pandals a better look.
Puja revellers from other states of the country also thronged the 500-year-old temple of Ma Durga at Nartiang village in Jaintia Hills district.
Small stalls offering various dishes and delicacies had come up at every nook and corner in the city, catering to the needs of all ages.
''This year, the celebration of Durga Puja is going to be better due to the conducive law-and-order situation in the State,'' Central Puja Committee (CPC) general secretary J L Das said.
Tomorrow, he said a host of dignitaries, including ministers of the State Government and traditional heads and leaders of various religious faiths, would visit the various Puja pandals.
Meanwhile, the haunting beat of the dhak reverberates through the hills with people cutting across caste, creed and religion visiting the decorated Puja pandals in the capital city and the suburbs.
A unique event held every year in the city is the pre-puja get-together of harmony. Representatives of every major religion in the world, NGOs and public leaders address the gathering stressing on peace, tolerance and social harmony.
Meanwhile, the district administration has stepped up security measures in view of the puja. Police patrolling has been intensified in the town to maintain peace during the puja celebrations.