For Navratri, Maharashtra has banned garba, dandiya, and processions

MUMBAI: The Maharashtra government has banned garba, dandiya, and other traditional events during Navratri, which runs from October 7 to October 15. For community pandals, the idols’ height has been limited to four feet, while for family celebrations, it has been limited to two feet. It has instructed community pandal organisers to make arrangements for internet darshans and has prohibited more than five persons from attending at a time in community pandals. It has also made processions, as well as the consumption of food, and beverages, illegal in community pandals.

The state home department issued an order with comprehensive recommendations. Even thought the second wave of Covid-19 has passed, the threat of Covid-19 remains, and crowding to enjoy the festival is not a smart idea. The state government stated in its circular that people must take all essential precautions while celebrating Navratri.

“Do not hold any garba, dandiya, or other cultural events. Instead, prioritise health-related activities such as blood donation and public awareness campaigns for diseases like Covid-19, malaria, and dengue fever, among others.” According to the circular, community mandals should make arrangements for online darshan of idols via cable networks, websites, Facebook, and other social media platforms.

“In community pandals, no more than five persons should be present at any given moment. In the community pandals, food and alcohol have also been severely restricted. When performing bhajan, aarti, or kirtan, make sure there is no crowding and that noise pollution regulations are obeyed. The same rules will apply to the Rawan Dahan event as well,” it stated.

“Do not hold any procession, whether for homecoming or idol immersions. Instead of the immersion sites, the customary ‘aarti’ will be performed at home. Immersions should be avoided by children and the elderly,” it warned.

The state administration also advised people to worship idols made of metal or marble rather than traditional idols. If the idols are constructed of clay or are environmentally safe, they can be immersed at home. The idols should be immersed in a nearby artificial pond if this is not practicable at home. 

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