Ganesh Chaturthi 2020: Carry sanitisers not garlands, get masks along with prasad – art and culture


The Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations, which have become immensely popular in Delhi-NCR over the years, are this time prioritising safety over everything. A host of popular Ganpati pandals and the unique idols, which used to be placed in them, will be missed amid the pandemic as the celebrations won’t take place at the same scale as previous years. But, there are some interesting modifications that will be part of this annual ritual.

Recently, the committee that organises the famous Lalbaugcha Raja celebrations in Mumbai decided to not to keep the Ganesha idol this year. Some popular pandals in Delhi-NCR such as those at Dilli Haat and Lal Bagh Ka Raja Ganpati Mahotsav won’t be in action this year either.

But, a few some Ganpati pandals that have come up, have strictly put safety norms on top priority.

Sanitisation must: Air to Surface

Shri Ganesh Sewa Mandal Delhi (Regd.) that has been organising a 10-day Ganesh Mahotsav Delhi Ka Maharaja for the past 18 years, will celebrate only a two-day Sukshma 19th Ganesh Mahotsav this year; keeping in mind the norms of social distancing. The event scheduled at Lovely Public School in Priyadarshini Vihar has begun on August 22. Besides plans to go live on Facebook, to allow the devotees to get virtual darshan of Ganpati Bappa, they have also scheduled 30 minute darshan slots for the members, wherein each slot will accommodate a maximum of 20 persons. There would be a gap of half an hour after every slot of Darshan for air and surface sanitisation and disinfection of the premises. Cultural programs by Sadhvi Purnima Poonam and Chitra Vichitra of Vrindavan will be telecast live on their Facebook page.

The pandal has a full-time dedicated air and surface sanitising person with machine, a special security personnel to ensure that there are not more than 20 people at any given point of time, CCTVs, hand sanitiser dispensing stands at multiple locations.

Get mask along with prasad

Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samiti in Gurugram will celebrate its 28th Ganesh Festival this year. “Due to Covid-19 conditions, the festival will be celebrated in a very different manner than the usual way. But, all the members of the team have same enthusiasm as always and we have accepted the new way of celebration.This year, Ganesh sthapana will be done at the residence of one of our members, and the rituals will be for just two days. Very limited number of members will be visiting the puja, and all precautions like social distancing, sanitisation etc will be undertaken without fail. In addition, we plan to distribute masks to the devotees who come for darshan,” says Sandeep Joshi from the managing committee of this pandal.

On the second day, Ganesh visarjan was done in one small tank at that very house itself. The idol was brought brought in from Ahmednagar in Maharashtra, and was much smaller in size than previous years.

Forget garlands, bring sanitisers along

For the Odiya community in Gurugram, which has been organising the Ganpati fest for over a decade, at Kendriya Vihar, the celebrations have also been limited to a house this year, with a small, informal gathering.

Similarly, the Sree Vinayaka Chaturthi Celebrations 2020 at Sree Vinayaka Mandir Marg at Delhi’s Sarojini Nagar, have also been restricted. Herein devotees are allowed for darshan in small batches, but no flowers or garlands are allowed to them.

Vipin K Sethi from Ganesh Utsav Mandal, old Rajinder Nagar, says, “Since we’ll not be able to do it in the park this year, we got together and placed a small idol at our residence, for only one day this year. Puja was conducted as per rituals, and Ganpati’s favourite food, ladoos were distributed as the prasad. But, most importantly, we kept the sanitisers handy, and strictly maintained social distance! This time, we have decided to make food packets and distribute them to the needy. We have been organising Ganpati celebrations for the last 32 years, and last year’s idol last year was 12 feet high. But, due to Covid-19 this year, we got a very small idol, to reduce the scale of celebration.”

Come Online to get Bappa’s Darshan

Sri Sathya Sai Ganesh Utsav at Amar Colony, Lajpat Nagar is organising online darshan for the devotees this year. All the rituals are being telecast live on the Facebook page.

A similar arrangement is being made by most other Ganpati organisers in Delhi-NCR. “We will be encouraging the devotees to watch all the cultural programs online; these will however be conducted for all nine days (from August 22 August to 30),” adds Joshi, from Gurugram’s Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samiti.

Author tweets @Nainaarora8

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