A calm Durga Puja in the time of Corona in Kolkata

The streets of Kolkata wore a completely uncanny and quiet look this year, lacking the crowd and traffic of pandal goers.

 

Durga Puja celebrations have been unusually different in 2020. The much-awaited annual festival of the Bengalis was conducted amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, following prescribed precautions and safety protocols.

The people were advised to keep the festivities low profile for mass gathering at pandals can be favourable hotspots for the spread of infection. Also, on October 19, the Calcutta High Court declared that all Durga Puja pandals in West Bengal will be no-entry zones for visitors, allowing only the organizers to be in close proximity to the pandal, amidst Covid-19 pandemic.

Following the order, the devotees performed all traditions and customs making the four-day celebrations a success even in this difficult year. However, the streets of Kolkata wore a completely uncanny and quiet look this year, lacking the crowd and traffic of pandal goers.

Therefore, most people were confined to their homes during the puja and were unable to venture out for pandal hopping. Virtual tours and Online Anjali were arranged by many puja committees in Kolkata, Delhi and Mumbai for people to experience a little bit of the essence of Durga Puja, from the comfort of their homes. Even though, virtual tour offered a patchy substitute for the original pomp and grandeur of Puja, it was essentially appropriate for the new normal of our times.

On the last day, the immersion of idols was also done following protocols issued by the government. No more than six people from each puja committee were permitted to take part in the immersion procedure. The immersion ghats and roads leading to them were also restricted in the view of Coronavirus pandemic.

Doctors had feared a “tsunami” of rising Covid-19 cases after the Durga Puja in Bengal. According to reports, Kolkata can witness a spike in the number of cases post Lakshmi Puja, even though the state has recorded the lowest daily case count since October 18, on Tuesday.

First Published:Oct. 29, 2020, 8:35 p.m.

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