Ganesh Utsav begins today: Maharashtrian groups go for low-key show this year too in Bhopal

Celebrations, cultural events to go online, mahaprasad to be delivered at devotees’ homes

SmitaUpdated: Thursday, September 09, 2021, 10:54 PM IST
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A girl carries an idol of Lord Ganesha after purchasing it on the eve of the Ganesh Chaturthi festival, in Bhopal on Thursday. | FP

BHOPAL: Maharashtrians in the city have decided to shift a major part of Ganesh Utsav celebrations to virtual mode due to Covid-19 pandemic. The 10-day fest begins from Friday

Most of the functions and cultural activities like Mahaarti, bhajans, fancy dress, drawing, rangoli making , songs, poets’ meet contests, Kavi sammelan will be held online. Mahaprasad would be delivered at the homes of the devotees. There will be no entry without a mask. Even surgical face masks and hand sanitiser will be made available at Puja pandals. Not more than 20-50 persons would be allowed to have a darshan in a day. No procession will be taken out to maintain social distancing.

Last year, too, the Maharashtrians, for whom Ganeshotsav is the biggest religious event of the year, had to celebrate in a subdued manner. There are around 17 organisations of the more than 3 lakh people of Marathi community living in the city.

 A girl carries an idol of Lord Ganesha after purchasing it on the eve of the Ganesh Chaturthi festival, in Bhopal on Thursday.

A girl carries an idol of Lord Ganesha after purchasing it on the eve of the Ganesh Chaturthi festival, in Bhopal on Thursday. | FP

Surendra Vaidhya, president of the Apulki Maharashtra Mandal has told Free Press that they will install a 1.5-foot idol of the lord. Five persons each will perform the aarti in the mornings and the evenings by rotation. Face masks and hand sanitisation will be compulsory for entry into the pandal. Modak, peda and banana would be distributed as prasad though the diabetic devotees would be allowed to offer salted snacks and grams to the lord. No procession will be taken out on Anant Chaturdashi - the last day of the fest - and the idol will be immersed in a water tank. All other programmes, including Ganpati bhajans, rangoli and fancy dress contests as well as a Kavi sammelan and the Mahaarti on the last day, will be online.

Poonam Kulkarni, President, Maharashtra Mandal, Kolar Road says that instead of a community hall, the Mandal has decided to install an idol of Ganesh on the ground floor of her two-storied house. Not more than 15-20 persons would be allowed to have a darshan in a day. Those interested in taking part in the rangoli competition have been asked to mail videos of their creations.

 A girl carries an idol of Lord Ganesha after purchasing it on the eve of the Ganesh Chaturthi festival, in Bhopal on Thursday.

A girl carries an idol of Lord Ganesha after purchasing it on the eve of the Ganesh Chaturthi festival, in Bhopal on Thursday. | FP

A drawing competition, also online, would be organised. The topics will be Ganesha (3-6 years age group), Protection from Corona (7-11 years) and Global Warming (12-18 years). The usual Bhandara on the last day has been cancelled and the Mahaprasad would be delivered at the homes of the devotees. There will be no entry without masks and the organisation will be providing masks to those who turn up without them, she says.

According to Mukund Dattatreya Godbole, Vice-President of the 54-year-old Marathi Sanskritik Mandal, Piplani, they would be installing a 2.5-foot idol on the premises of the Ganesh Mandir, Piplani. Only 50 persons will be allowed entry at one time. The prasad would be distributed outside the pandal. The idol will not be taken in a procession for immersion. The organisation has set up a tableau on the life and works of Lokmanya Tilak as part of the celebrations.

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