Covid-19: Online 'darshan' of idols on Ganesh Chaturthi in Kolkata

People shopping at a market ahead of Ganesh Chaturthi festival on Thursday

Several community puja

organisers in Kolkata switched to the digital mode to enable people have 'darshan' of idols on Ganesh Chaturthi on Saturday.

The shift came as many organisers imposed restrictions on the entry of visitors to the marquees to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee greeted people on the occasion, tweeting: "Heartiest greetings to all on the occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi".

Organisers of the Bidhannagar Ganesh Chaturthi Mahotsav, one of the oldest community puja in the city, enabled digital 'darshan' of the idol due to the COVID-19 situation, Anindya Chatterjee, a puja committee office-bearer, said.

"Devotees can also offer puja, give 'pronami' (donation) and opt for home delivery of 'prasad' by clicking on the link This is part of our 'Grihakone Vinayak' (Vinayak at home) theme this year. Our celebration is also being live-streamed on our Facebook page," he said.

Several Bengali organisations of Non-resident Indians are also promoting Kolkata's Ganesh Puja in the countries they live in, Chatterjee said.

Many other Ganesh Puja organisers are trying to strike a balance between conventional and digital modes.

"We have not entirely shifted to the digital mode. Our idol has been installed in a small marquee. Volunteers are allowing visitors to see the idol by maintaining social distancing norms.

"But, different moments of the celebration are being videographed and posted on Facebook and Whatsapp groups," Haradhan Das, a puja organiser in Bhowanipore area said.

Posta Sarbajanin Ganesha Puja Committee, a major organiser of the festival in Burrabazar area, has toned down its celebration and is worshipping a smaller idol less than 10 feet in height.

"All the rituals are being done but the entry of visitors to the marquee is being regulated in consultation with the police," Ankit Tewary, a member of the committee said.

Many people worshipped idols at their homes, while 'havan' was performed in several Ganesh temples in the city with strict adherence to safety measures.

The festival also brought a breath of fresh air for the idol makers in potters' hub Kumartuli in north Kolkata, who have sold over 2,000 Ganesh idols, a spokesperson of Kumartuli Mritshilpi Samity said.

"Many people came down to buy Ganesh idols after the bi-weekly state-wide lockdown ended at 10 pm on Friday," he said.

The sale of Ganesh idols in Kumartuli, however, has come down by 25 per cent this year, sources said.

The clay modellers have been hit hard due to the COVID-19 outbreak, losing out on income generation during Annapurna Puja and Bengali New Year and receiving fewer orders for Durga Puja idols, they added.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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