Bhubaneswar: The dreaded coronavirus has transformed our lives drastically. So much so that we can’t even celebrate our favourite festivals like we used to.
Rath Yatra in Puri was organized without devotees this year. And now, Durga Puja will also have to be celebrated in a restricted manner, by maintaining social distancing and wearing masks.
Many Puja committees in the city have decided to stream the puja online so that devotees can view it from home. They can also give pushpanjali online.
“We’ve to adjust to a new way of life, the new normal… we will miss the crowd in puja pandals, decorations and colourful lights this year,” said Rasulgarh Durga Puja Parichalana Committee secretary Japan Routray.
“Following the guidelines, we will organize the puja with seven people only. Priests will be allowed to enter the pandal to conduct puja only after negative COVID test,” he added.
“The height of the idol, made by artisans of Cuttack, is four feet this year. As per the height, we have made the silver filigree jewellery for Maa Durga,” said Japan, adding that the idol is normally made by artisans who come from Kolkata.
“For the devotees, we have opened a Facebook page in the name of Rasulgarh Puja. They can have online darshan this year,” he informed.
“In the Bela Barani Utsav also, only four people will go this year, whereas thousands of people used to go in a procession every year,” he added.
“We are issuing a list regarding the schedule of puja for the devotees so that they can have darshan accordingly. People should stay at home and be safe in this difficult situation,” said Japan.
“Only Niti Bhoga and Chandi Patha rituals will be done in the pandal this year. The budget of this year’s puja is Rs 1.5 lakh,” informed Japan.
“We are feeling sorry for devotees who can’t visit the pandal this year. Hope Maa Durga will sort out this problem soon and we can celebrate puja in a grand way next year,” said Japan.
People will miss Meena Bazar, cultural programmes, Ravan Podi, Bhasani Yatra and Prasad in the pandals this year.