Ganesh Chaturthi in 2020 will be a somewhat difference experience for many in Maharashtra as the city continues to feel the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. To this end the government has introduced a slew of measures to ensure that the festivities can continue without the virus affecting more people.
Additionally, for a variety of reasons, many organisations and Ganeshotsav committees have opted out of celebrating on a large scale. While some have scrapped the festivities altogether, others have decided to keep the entire proceedings virtual.
To this end, the state government had earlier issued guidelines that must be followed. And while different pandals have also chosen to implement the rules in slightly different formats, the aim remains the same.
Here are some guidelines that will be applicable for those residing in Kalyan Dombivli, as well as some things that you can expect when visiting pandals.
1. The height of the idols have been capped at 4 feet, while those within houses can be a maximum of two feet tall.
2. In order to avoid overcrowding at the commonly used visargan points, the various municipal corporations in the MMR region have taken it upon themselves to create artificial ponds and tanks for immersion. One should look at nearby areas when it comes to the immersion.
3. Pandals will be routinely sanitised and people will be thermally screened before being allowed in. Timings for darshan might be affected by the same.
4. Social distancing measures will be implemented by pandals, and so, the long wait amid a massive crowd may be a tad more relaxing. On the other hand, with only a limited number of people being allowed in at a time, the wait might become longer.
5. If you're stepping out into a public place, do make sure to wear a mask and keep a safe distance from those around you.
6. Pandals have been encouraged to switch to online darshan, and as such one should look into that option first. It is possible that the pandal you wish to go to is not allowing anyone to physically enter.
7. Pandals have been encouraged to hold awareness campaigns for COVID-19, dengue and more. Many have also opted to hold blood donation drives. If you wish you be a part of it, do contact the pandals in your area.
8. There will unfortunately be additional difficulties for citizens residing in containment zones. With no pandals being set up in such areas, and the revelers prohibited from going out the festival will definitely be a different experience.