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Vikash Sharma

Bhubaneswar: It is that part of the year when Odia women come together to celebrate Raja- the three-day extravaganza with friends and family members. But this time, the festivities are quite somber owing to the social distancing norms in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Raja, which is a unique festival that celebrates womanhood, is among the most popular festivals in Odisha. However, despite restrictions and weekend shutdown in 11 districts, people celebrated Pahili Raja with their loved ones and preferred to stay indoors.

“Due to COVID-19 restrictions, we are unable to go out and celebrate with friends. In order to keep the tradition alive, we decided to celebrate Pahili Raja within the family. As it is an extra ordinary situation due to the pandemic, we must support the government and follow all the guidelines,” said a Puspanjali, a resident of Kendrapara.

Another local resident said, “Most of the families decided to cut down expenses and donate to CM’s relief fund to support the ongoing fight against Coronavirus.”

In view of the COVID-19 situation, several district administrations including Cuttack and Khurda have clamped restrictions on any kind of congregations during Raja festivities.

As per Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation, Raja Doli, Bagudi, card playing have been prohibited in the city. All the shops will have to strictly follow social distancing norms while people will not be allowed to enter shops without masks.

Khurda Sub- Collector, Shantanu Mohanty informed that, “In a bid to prevent congregations, we have clamped section 144 around Barunei and Ugratara pitha in the district.”

Cuttack Municipal Corporation (CMC) has also issued special guidelines for shops during the Raja festivities on June 15 and 16.

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(Edited By Ramakanta Biswas)

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