Pune: Navratri mandals to arrange online darshan amid COVID-19 outbreak
Pune: The Maharashtra government has already advised cancellation of garba, dandiya and cultural programmes in view of the coronavirus outbreak.
In a circular issued ahead of Navratri and Dusshera, the home department of the state has clearly mentioned that the festivals need to be celebrated in a simple manner. As the Navratri starts on October 17, with Dusshera falling on October 25, the government has advised mandals to host health-related campaigns such as blood donation drives.
Navaratri is considered an important festival in Maharashtra where people participate in garba and dandiya at public places for all nine days. However, there has been no respite from the COVID-19 and it is set to dampen the spirit this time. Every year, Pune witnesses number of dandiya events. A blend of a traditional theme, garba troupes as well as a live performance are held in the city but this year the festival will be celebrated in low grandeur.
Every year, the Mahalaxmi temple near Sarasbaug witnesses’ long queues for darshan during the nine-day-long festival. The ghatsthapna which is organised by Bansilal Ramnath Aggarwal Religious and Cultural Trust has decided to celebrate the festival in low key style amid the rising cases in Pune.
Trustee Amita Rajkumar Agrawal informed, “Every year, 15 to 20 lakh devotees to pay visit to seek blessings of Maa Mahalakshmi. Devotees flock on the days of Lalit Panchami, Ashtami that is especially on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday for darshan. This year, devotees will be not allowed to visit the temple. However, devotees can take online darshan via temple's website (www.mahalaxmimandirpune.org.), Facebook page and YouTube as well as through local cable networks.”
Founder Chairman of Pune Lokmanya Festival, Adv Ganesh Satpute said, “Every year, Lokmanya Festival is celebrated in huge grandeur where thousands of youth attend dandiya event. This year amid the COVID-19, we have decided to promote online darshan. Devotees can seek blessings via the internet”
He informed, “Also, this year, various competitions including dance, rangoli designs, Instagram reels video will be conducted online. Apart from this, bhajans, programmes of COVID-19 awareness will also be held digitally.”
Not only the organisers, many event companies in the city have already expressed their concern about the loss amid COVID-19. Roshan Bagade of Ronity Events, said, “Since the COVID-19 began, the impact to the business of event management companies has been unprecedented with several events having been postponed or simply cancelled.”
“Garba festivities run into a commercial business over Rs 5-10 lakh per event annually. This includes the profit of large commercial garbas and joint businesses like decorators, caterers, lighting, sound systems, LED screens, orchestra, security, housekeeping staff, parking agencies and more. This year, there will be no major events in the city but we have received a number of enquires for online garba and we are planning for it.”