Andhra Pradesh

Durga puja begins on a cautious note

A priest offering prayers to Goddess Durga installed at the Waltair Kali Bari near the Railway Station in Visakhapatnam on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: K.R. DEEPAK

Durga Puja, celebrated with fanfare by the Bengali community, began on a cautious note here on Thursday. Though the festival is celebrated for nine days, the festivities begin from Maha Sashti for Bengalis.

But this year, the celebrations and the number of Sarbojanin (community) pujas in the city have been restricted due to the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic.

Every year, 10 to 12 community pujas are organised, but this year only three or four associations have set up pandals, such as East Coast Railway Kalibari, Ukkunagaram Kalibari and Bengali Association.

“This year, we are not conducting the puja, keeping in mind the COVID-19 protocols,” said Dr. Alok Mazumdar of Utsav. Similarly, pujas at 104 area Ashoka Park, Sriharipura, Nausena Bagh and Amzari Park have also been put on hold this year.

The pujas are being held in a low-key manner at Bengali Association, Railway Kalibari and Ukkunagaram Kalibari. For the first time, there shall be no cultural programmes in the evenings. Bhog will not be served, as done previously, and the puja area will be barricaded to restrict the gathering of people, said organisers from East Coast Railway Kalibari.

“People have been asked to maintain social distancing, wear masks and carry sanitisers. We have also placed sanitiser at entry point,” said the organisers of Ukkunagaram Kalibari.

“Even people offering pujas will have to maintain social distancing norms. We will serve bhog but social distancing will be maintained and all protocols will be followed,” said the organisers of Bengali Association.

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Printable version | Nov 26, 2020 4:35:38 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/durga-puja-begins-on-a-cautious-note/article32922829.ece

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