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Maharashtra Govt Bans Garba, Dandiya Events During Navratri Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

Mumbai: Navratri is one of the biggest festivals celebrated in Maharashtra, but this year following the COVID19 outbreak the excitement for Garba and dandiya will be missed in the state and particularly in Mumbai Metropolitan Region.

The Uddhav Thackeray-government in Maharashtra on Tuesday night came out with a notification on the guidelines/SOPs on the forthcoming Navratri/Durga Puja festival.

The state home department said the festivals need to be celebrated in a “simple manner”. This year, Navratri starts on October 17, with Dusshera falling on October 25.

Instead of hosting cultural events that attract crowds, the government has advised congregations to host health-related events or camps, such as blood donation drives.

Just like in the case of Ganeshotsav, the statues of Durga Mata kept in the houses are two feet in height and four feet in public.

For Navratri and Durga Puja, the government suggests that metal-based idols be worshiped or traditional items made of clay instead of the Plaster of Paris. In cases where metal-based sculptures are not used, residents have been urged to worship environmentally friendly sculptures, which can be dissolved in homes or artificial immersion tanks.

The government insisted on avoiding crowds at bhajan, aarti, and kirtan programs. As far as possible, the use of online medium and cable networks has been recommended for broadcasting ‘Devi Darshan’ and other programs.

To host public Navratri celebrations, congregations will need to seek permission from the local administration or the municipal corporation, the circular said. It was added that a mandap should be made according to the policy made by the civic body or local administration and by the order issued by the Bombay High Court.

For the mandals, sanitation and thermal screening have been made mandatory. They will not be allowed to provide food or drink services. At one time, no more than five volunteers should be present on the board, the circular said.

Ravana Dahan should be celebrated in a symbolic manner, with the crowd discouraged. The circular states that live screening may be facilitated.

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