Skip dandiya and garba this year: Maha govt issues guidelines for low-key Navratri celebrations

Mumbai: Navratri is likely to be a low-key celebration this year, as the Maharashtra government has said it will not allow garba and dandiya during the nine-day festival, given the rising number of coronavirus cases in the city.

The government on Tuesday issued detailed guidelines for Navratri, Durga Pooja and Dussehra, as it had earlier done for Ganesh Chaturthi and Eid.

Arrival and immersion processions are prohibited to avoid crowds while the height of the idol has been capped at 4ft for public and 2ft for private celebrations. The government has urged the citizens to immerse idols either at homes or in artificial ponds created by housing societies or the civic body.Additional guidelines may be issued in the run-up to the aforesaid festivals.

Instead of garba and dandiya, Navrati mandals have been asked to organise health camps, blood and plasma donation camps and spread awareness of the 'My Family, My Responsibility' campaign. Further, the mandals have been urged not to organise 'aartis, bhajans' and discourses, to discourage crowding and noise pollution.

Further, the government guidelines suggest that online darshan be encouraged and adequate measures such as physical distancing and thermal scanning be undertaken by the mandals. At any given time, not more than five people should be allowed in the mandap, as per the guidelines.

Navratri mandals must obtain necessary approvals from the local authorities. The decoration of the goddess' idol should be kept simple and mandals should accept only voluntary donations.

There will be no audience to witness the ritual of burning of the effigy of Ravana, which will be restricted to a limited number of people. The government has made it clear that it will be mandatory for the administration and police to implement the existing rules in order to curb the spread of Covid-19.

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