Bhubaneswar: Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his recent address to the nation urged people to not their guard during the puja festivities as the lockdown may have ended but the virus is still there. Even though detection of new cases may have begun the downward decline, the celebrations in most pandals have gone virtual.
The Durga Puja celebrations which start from Sasthi (October 22) and comes to an end on Dashami (October 26). The pandal associations have been asked to keep the festivities at a bare minimum, the height of the idols to the maximum of four feet, prohibition of public congregation among other things.
Puja Goes Online In Odisha
Closer to home, Nayapalli and Bomikhal puja associations in Bhubaneswar will be telecasting the rituals staring from today onwards on WhatsApp and other social media platforms. Since Orissa High Court had prohibited the presence of the public in any pandal, the locals hugely appreciated the move.
Karnataka Dusshera Celebration
The Bengali associations in Bengaluru, Karnataka have planned to have most of the celebrations online. The various rituals including aarti and pushpanjali will be streamed live on Youtube and Facebook.
An HSR Layout association has partnered with a delivery app to distribute the bhog prasad to its members. At the venue, it will employ a QR-code based registration app to track the number of attendees. Yet another Koramnagala association has decided to help out artisans such as idol makers and decorators who have been out of work amid COVID-19 pandemic.
Durga Puja In West Bengal
In West Bengal, where the puja is celebrated with much gusto, there are at least two big-ticket pujas of Kolkata — Santosh Mitra Square and Debdaru Fatak. These have announced that outsiders won’t be allowed this time, but insisted that people log on to their YouTube channels to catch a glimpse of the Durga idol, and the rituals.
Nevertheless, some puja association argue that the festival is all about inclusiveness, and revellers cannot be stopped from visiting the marquees. They have given assurances that all necessary measures would be taken to manage crowds and ensure the safety of one and all.
They argue that the whole purpose of community puja would get defeated if the entry of visitors is prohibited. Notably, these associations would be streaming live all rituals on social media.
Live Streaming Of Puja In Mumbai
In Mumbai too, puja associations have decided to take their puja to the people through live streaming and social media. They are of the view that with crowded pandals many may get infected by the deadly virus. And hence outsiders, bhog, prasad and flowers are strictly prohibited to avoid physical contact.