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How Covid-19 makes Gowri-Ganesha festival celebrations in Bengaluru different this year

From only one idol in the public space of each ward to no cultural programmes to avoid large crowds, the BBMP has released guidelines to be followed to celebrate the festival amid the pandemic this year.

Written by Ralph Alex Arakal | Bengaluru |
Updated: August 21, 2020 8:31:45 am
Not more than 20 people will be allowed in a pandal at the same time. (Representational)

From allowing only one Ganesha pandal per ward to restricting celebrations to three days, this year’s Gowri-Ganesha festival celebrations in Bengaluru will be different in the wake of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

While Gowri Habba falls on Friday this year, the Ganesha festival will be celebrated the next day, albeit with certain restrictions even though the Karnataka government decided to relax Covid-19 guidelines to allow celebrations.

Based on the order (dated August 14) issued by Chief Secretary T M Vijay Bhaskar, BBMP Commissioner N Manjunatha Prasad listed several guidelines to be followed across 198 wards in Bengaluru.

Here are the guidelines:

– Only one Ganesha idol will be permitted to be kept in a public space in each ward. This means only 198 Ganesha idols will be there in pandals (marquess) set up across Bengaluru

– Organisations/associations/institutions in the same ward are encouraged to submit proposals together to the concerned Zonal Joint Commissioners and Deputy Commissioners of Police

– The final decision on who will be permitted to install the idol will be taken by these officers.

– No celebration is permitted beyond three days and the idol should be immersed within the same timeframe.

– The Ganesha idol in public open spaces should not exceed the height of 4 feet. The maximum height of idols allowed at homes is 2 feet.

– Not more than 20 people will be allowed in a pandal at the same time.

– Those installing Ganesha idols at homes should ensure they are immersed within their own premises itself.

– All permissions will be granted by a committee comprising officials from the Revenue, Police, Fire and Emergency Services. Citizens/organisations/associations should adhere to all terms and conditions put forth by the officials.

– No cultural or entertainment programmes will be permitted this time to avoid crowds gathering in the areas.

– The place designated for immersion at every ward should be informed while seeking permission to install the idol itself.

– Idols can be immersed only at designated artificial tanks or mobile tanks constructed and listed by the Karnataka Pollution Control Board

– Temple premises, public spaces need to be sanitised regularly. Everyone should compulsorily wear masks and maintain social distancing.

– Citizens should follow all instructions given by officials at the venues

Earlier, CM Yediyurappa had requested citizens to celebrate festivals in an eco-friendly and health-conscious manner. “It is the responsibility of every citizen to control the spread of COVID-19. I request all to celebrate the festival in an eco-friendly manner as per the revised guidelines,” he had tweeted.

Bengaluru’s iconic Ganesh Utsav goes online

Meanwhile, most festival related events, which are held on a large scale in the city, have gone online this time. For instance, Bengaluru’s iconic eleven-day Ganesh Utsav will be streamed live online. The event, which has been held consecutively for the last 58 years, is immensely popular with the participation of the country’s top musicians and actors .

Ganesh Utsav organisers told that the stage has already been set up at an auditorium and over 500 artists are expected to participate in various programmes. “We wanted to ensure that the tradition is continued even during these tough times without compromising the safety and other matters of concern of our attendees. Hence, people will get a chance to watch them live, with various performances lined up at a stretch for 12 hours. Poojas will also be live-streamed,” a member of the organising team said.

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