Pune: Ganapati makes a quiet entry, devotees yearn for the buzz | Pune News

Pune: Ganapati makes a quiet entry, devotees yearn for the buzz | Pune News

Pune: Ganapati makes a quiet entry, devotees yearn for the buzz | Pune News

[ad_1]

PUNE: Anand Saraf (63) has closely followed the city’s vibrant and spirited Ganesh festival for five decades now. To Saraf, the change in festivities this year enforced by the Covid-19 pandemic was much too perceptible on Saturday.
“As far as I can recall, this is the first time there are no people on the roads. The enthusiasm and colour, the noise and fervour is surely missing,” he said, adding, “People are scared. But they have faith in the Vighnaharta, who will ensure that things will be back to normal.”
Purva Sankhala, a festival enthusiast, rued, “The chants of ‘Ganapati Bappa Morya’ and the sound of dhol tasha and lezim pathaks, mandal volunteers carrying saffron flags and dancing feverishly on the way to their pandals, the rangolis drawn by cultural organizations, men and women dressed in traditional Maharashtrian attire, foreigners making it a point to reach Laxmi road for the Day 1 processions and several such features are totally missing this year.”
The change in festivities on Saturday was so obvious that it turned into a part of nearly every conversation through the day. The administration has placed restrictions on processions for installation of public Ganesh idols as well as on pandals. The drastically reduced number of pandals has also affected the crowd on roads, which is a good sign considering the pandemic.
“I have been attending Ganesh Chaturthi processions for a decade but it’s totally different this time. Normally, there would hardly be any space to walk as people would crowd every nook and corner of the Peth areas during the processions for installation of idols. That buzz is entirely missing this year,” said Sachin Patil, a working professional.
For Abhay Jadhav, attending the installation processions of the five ‘Manache Ganapati’ and Dagdusheth Halwai Ganapati would be a major attraction. “I would run across Bajirao road, Shivaji road and Laxmi road despite the crowd to be able to offer prayers at all the mandaps,” he recalled. “It’s different this year as I am moving on my two-wheeler to pay my respects.”
Mandals, including the five ‘Manache Ganapatis’, have taken various precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the Covid-19. Kasba Ganapati Mandal has restricted senior citizens from visiting the pandal. “Roads leading to the pandal have been barricaded. Fewer than 50 persons were present for the installation rituals. Only four persons carried the Bappa from the temple to the pandal in a palkhi. Later, about four to five people were allowed inside the pandal for the rituals,” explained a mandal office bearer.
People could be seen moving from one temple to another to offer prayers. “We cannot stop people from coming to worship. They take a look at the idol, pray and leave. We are not allowing them to stop for long. No one is allowed inside the temple. Only the priest and people performing the rituals were allowed inside the temple,” said Paresh Khandke of Bhau Rangari Ganpati Trust.
The situation was slightly different at Shrimant Dagdusheth Halwadi Ganapati Temple as a crowd had gathered around the complex but the police ensured that people kept moving. The mandal has erected a screen at a nearby spot for devotees to see the idol and offer prayers.
Many mandals have built small pandals as a decoration around the permanent temple structures. The Jilbya Maruti Mandal Trust had only four people outside the temple after installation while passers-by offered prayers while walking around Tulshibaug. The Akhil Mandai Mandal has been spraying disinfectant at the temple premises after every two hours. A bottle of sanitizer has been kept close to the idol alongside other offerings. “We are allowing only limited people into the temple and they are being checked with oximeter and thermometer. Wearing masks is mandatory,” said Anna Thorat, president of the mandal.
A crowd gathered at several other locations in the city as devotees reached makeshift sheds selling Ganapati idols. “There was a lot of crowd at Wanowrie, where four stalls have been erected. While many were wearing masks, I noticed many without masks too. There was hardly any social distancing. However, there are fewer pandals on the roads. I hope people stay home and offer prayers using online facilities provided by most prominent mandals,” said Seema Parekh, a resident of Wanowrie.
At Wadgaonsheri, the six pandals that line the 2km-stretch between Anand Park and Wadgaonsheri wholesale market were missing. To cash in on sale during the festival, every shop along the stretch was seen selling Ganapati idols and decorations.
“We are happy that we are bringing Ganapati home as we do every year. But this year, we are unable to place any offerings at our local Ganapati mandal, which cancelled Ganeshotsav celebrations due to the pandemic. We can only pray that this is not the situation next year too,” said Shivaji Londhe, a businessman from the area.
(With inputs from
Shiladitya Pandit)

[ad_2]

Source link Google news