Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Friday appealed to all Ganesh mandals in the State that they should not install idols with a height of more than four feet in the coming Ganesh festival.
In a statement, Uddhav Thackeray said faith and devotion are more important than the height of idol. “Due to the increasing cases of Covid-19, we have to celebrate the Ganesh festival in a simple manner by following all social-distancing measures. Devotion is more important than the height of the idol. So, the height of the idol should be up to 4 feet and there should not be any crowding during the festival,” Maharashtra CM said in a statement.
Coronavirus pandemic has affected culture and traditions too, he said. "To avoid crowds, all places of worship have been shut. We need to avoid crowds which gather to see huge Ganesh idols in Mumbai and Pune. I have spoken to Ganesh mandals and they are unanimous about maintaining discipline and social responsibility," Thackeray said.
Thackeray had earlier appealed Ganesh mandals -- groups which celebrate the festival in public -- to keep the celebrations low-key this year in view of the coronavirus pandemic.
Maharashtra Chief Minister also said the dahi handi festival, too, has been cancelled this year. The Dahi-handi (Janmashtami) celebrations in August have been canceled and Shiv Sena MLA Pratap Sarnaik, who organises Dahi Handi in a big way, has instead donated Rs one crore for coronavirus relief fund, Thackeray noted.
With COVID-19 pandemic, this year's Ganeshotsav celebrations are likely to attract lesser crowd in Maharashtra. Mumbai's famous organiser in Ganesh Galli on Tuesday decided to bring in four-feet idol instead of a larger than life, 22-feet idol.
Ganesh Chaturthi, a ten-day festival which starts on the fourth day of Hindu luni-solar calendar month Bhadrapada, will start on August 22 this year. This is celebrated with much fanfare in Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra with lakhs of devotees converging into mandals to seek blessing from Lord Ganesh.