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Bhubaneswar: Witness Durga Puja Aarti & Pushpanjali ONLINE Amid Covid Times

Bhubaneswar: For obvious reasons, the government has banned public participation at the Durga Puja pandals across Odisha. The Covid pandemic may have taken away the shine with which Navratri and Dussehra was being celebrated over last few decades, but several Durga Puja committees planning innovative ideas has come in handy for the devotees amidst the virus conundrum.

Because of the initiative taken by the Saheed Nagar and Nayapalli Puja Committees in the capital city, devotees now have the option to watch live telecast of the Durga Puja proceedings for four days from October 22 to October 26, 2020.

With various norms and social distancing regulations in place, facilities like ‘Online Aarti’, ‘Online Pushpanjali’ and ‘Prasad Bookings’, have come as a major relief for thousands of devotees.

The Puja proceedings will live-stream on Facebook and YouTube channels of the respective committees. This apart, the Nayapalli Puja Committee is also planning to broadcast the Durga Puja on various media channels and TV networks, informed committee president Pabitra Mohan Behera.

According to the guidelines issued by the state government, there would not be more than seven persons including the organisers, priests and support staff at the puja pandals/mandaps at any point of time. And because of the restrictions, general public will not be allowed near the Puja pandals. The Puja schedule released by the committee mention that Pushpanjali to Maa Durga can be offered online by the devotees from their respective homes and mantras will also be recited at the pandal during the online streaming.

The devotees who wish to offer special Puja or Bhog (Prasad) can contribute the required amount online through NEFT/RTGS transactions to the committee’s account. The same process is also being followed to collect donations from the general public as door-to-door visits to seek puja contributions have not been permitted in the state.

On account of the prevailing situation, the government decided the nine-night fest that ends with Dussehra to commemorate good over evil would be a low-key affair this year. But celebrations can always be made special with unique ways. The streets and shops of Bhubaneswar have witnessed multitude of people, mostly women, purchasing Puja items like garlands, Goddess frames, decorative pieces, fruits, and other essentials to celebrate the festival inside their houses in isolation.

“I have been celebrating Navratri for over nine years now and haven’t missed it a single year. This year I wouldn’t be inviting young girls for feast at home but everything else remains the same. Prayers and worship are more needed during these tough times than ever,” said a woman purchasing fruits at the Priyadarshini Market near CRP square in Bhubaneswar.

The saree showrooms, fruit vending zones, and the puja decorative shops witness a huge inflow of customers during the Navratri festivities every year. But women have made sure the pandemic and the drizzles owing to low pressure over BoB, just cannot dampen the spirit, because for them, they are ready to celebrate this in the safe spaces of their home.

(Edited By: Devbrat Patnaik)

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