50% capacity in closed spaces, no rallies, no food stalls, no entry without masks, strict social-distancing and the likes. These guidelines by the Delhi government may have restricted the past years grand celebrations but is ensuring the welcome of Maa Durga in a safe and secure way. From shifting to private venues, going digital to pre-booking visits via an app, Durga Puja communities are doing it all, yet look forward to welcome Durga with much more zest and zeal the next year. While South Delhi Durga Puja Samiti is doing a Facebook, Instagram and YouTube live of Ghot Puja, on October 22, and donations via online payment, Bangiya Parishad, Gurugram is urging members to pre-book visits.
No physical Anjali this year
Aurindam Mukherjee from the Purbapalli Durgabari Samiti Gurugram, i.e celebrating their 32nd year this time around, says: “Owing to the ongoing pandemic, we are working with the local authorities to ensure our members and community are safe. To ensure this, we aren’t having the Puja at our regular venue (Community Centre, Sector 15). We are going to have the rituals performed at a private venue. This will be a member’s only event and only 100 of us shall be allowed via a roster prepared to ensure everyone gets a chance to see Maa. At the venue, we are practising all the steps such as temperature checks, masks, sanitization, social distancing to ensure everyone is safe,” he says.
Sharing the ritualistic changes he adds: “No physical Anjali to happen. We aren’t bringing our Dhaki from West Bengal (WB) but are collecting money to be sent to them. We are proceeding with covering our Purohit with appropriate Covid health Insurance. Members shall be able to see the Puja from the comforts of their home via online streaming.”
Pooja at a Private Venue: Face-shield and masks to be provided
Pandara Road Puja Samity, has, too shifted their pooja to a private venue, Gautam Bose, president, says: “We are doing a private puja i.e only restricted to the members. There’s no public puja this year. Even in the private puja at a house lawn, we’ll follow proper safety. It’s the 65th year of the celebrations. We are very restricted this year.”
Aram Bagh Puja Samiti has, too, has shifted their puja to Narayan Satsang Mandir, Rani Jhansi Complex (Delhi) from October 21st to 26th, and their idol, is three and a half feet long vis-à-vis previous year’s 16 feet idol. “This year, it’s only Durga Puja and not Durgotsav. All workers including security, cleaners, kitchen staff are being tested prior. At a time only 40 people will be allowed. Face shield for the elderly and masks will be provided. Premises will be sanitised everyday,” says, Abhijit Bose from the Samiti.
Limited entry via pre-booking through App
“There’s limited entry for members via pre-booking, who can book their visit via the Bangiya Parishad App. We are looking at not more then 10 minutes. This is primarily for the members,” says, Partha Dey, from Bangiya Parishad Gurgaon
Partha Dey, General Secretary, Bangiya Parishad Gurgaon, says: “We are doing it on a small scale, with safety first. Our aim is that people who are going over there, shouldn’t get infected. Although we are urging people not to come. There’s limited entry for members via pre-booking, who can book their visit via the Bangiya Parishad App. We are looking at not more then 10 minutes. This is primarily for the members. They aren’t any banners or stall, too. Guidelines include checking of temperatures, and Aarogya Setu. If I am found suitable, then only I’ll be allowed. We have got around six to seven sanitisation centre across the pandal, and keeping adequate masks, too. Nobody will be allowed without a mask. We have to ensure fewer people visit us and keep safe-distance.”
“For the puja, we have booked the Community Centre, 56. Some rituals start at 6am. Earlier ten people came to arrange and hundred to watch. But things are different and it’ll all be telecasted online. People can enjoy the puja from their homes this year,” he adds.
From a Grand affair to One-Day only
B-block Durga Puja, CR Park, has decided to only do one-day Ghot Puja on 24th October, Saturday from 7 am onwards.General Secretary, Suprakash Majumdar, says: “Inside the Vedi only Priest (Pujari) and two helpers will be allowed. This year the committee has decided that flower, sweets, fruits etc for Individual Barir (home) Pujo cannot be offered. Pushpanjali, prasad, Bhog, will not be accepted by the Priest / Committee due to Covid-19 restrictions. There won’t be any pandaal, idol , entertainment/cultural events, sports events,bhog distribution at our ground either. Such unprecedented times call for such actions. We wish and pray to Devi Durga to bless us all and look forward to celebrate Durga Puja next year with much more zest and zeal.”
Sayan Acharya, one of the executive members, adds: It’ll be a one day affair. We are doing Niyom Rokkha (Neeyam ka Palam). Due to the pandemic, we don’t want to pressurise people to come. We’ll most likely be making a video, try to get a live feed.”
“We are advising devotees to declare themselves corona free, who will then be allowed after thermal scanning and sanitisation of hands,” says Ravi Kant Singh, General Secretary, Navapalli Puja Samity, CR Park
Navapalli Puja Samity, at CR Park, is, too hosting the pujo for a day. Ravi Kant Singh, General Secretary, says: “The rituals will only be held on October 24, 6am to 12 noon. We are not inviting devotees to come on the ground, urging for puja and pushpanjali online. There are no physical offerings of puja, no distribution of prasad. Maximum of 15 designated devotees will be allowed. We are advising devotees to declare themselves corona free, who will then be allowed after thermal scanning and sanitisation of hands.”
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