Idol immersion, effigy burning mark end of Durga Puja and Dussehra festivities in Ghaziabad

Amid the coronavirus crisis, the heights of the effigies of Ravan, Kumbhakarna and Meghnad for burning on Dussehra were even considerably reduced
Small Ravan effigies at Ghantaghar Ramlila Maidan in Ghaziabad on Friday. (Sakib Ali / HT)
Small Ravan effigies at Ghantaghar Ramlila Maidan in Ghaziabad on Friday. (Sakib Ali / HT)
Published on Oct 16, 2021 12:17 AM IST
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ByHT Correspondent

The week-long Durga Puja and Dussehra festivities ended on Friday with the immersion of idols and burning of the effigies of Ravan, his brother Kumbhkaran and son Meghnad at different locations in Ghaziabad. Organisers said that the government allowed public celebrations this time, but with certain restrictions in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.

So much so, that even the heights of the effigies of Ravan, Kumbhakarna and Meghnad were considerably reduced.

“Until 2019, we prepared effigies that were about 80 feet tall. Due to the pandemic, no effigy was prepared in 2020. This year, the height of the effigies was reduced to 18-25 feet and no fireworks were used,” said Dilshad Ahmad, a craftsman from Gulaothi who has been preparing effigies for the past week.

“This year, festivities were allowed in a restricted manner. I received two orders to prepare effigies for the Ghanta Ghar and Kavi Nagar Ramlilas. Earlier, it took us about a month’s stay at the Ramlila grounds to prepare tall effigies. This year, we arrived here about a week ago. Still, we were able to prepare the effigies in time and erect them on Friday evening for Dussehra,” he added.

Meanwhile, Durga Puja festivities ended on a high note with the immersion of the idols of goddess Durga in ponds and designated water bodies across the district.

“Immersion was not allowed in the Yamuna river but in temporary ponds created nearby. We permitted 17 different Ramlilas to be staged but did not allow any mela (fair) to be held. Effigies this time were small in size. Zonal magistrates and sector magistrates were deployed to ensure Covid protocols were followed and also ensure peaceful celebrations,” said Vipin Kumar, additional district magistrate (city).

Before the immersion on the final day of Durga Puja festivities, women devotees performed the ritual of ‘Sindoor Khela’. Devotees also performed the Dhanuchi dance, a ritual that takes place before the idol of the goddess is immersed in a water body.

“The idols were immersed in a temporary pond near the Hindon river. Unlike the previous year, there was more enthusiasm this time as the government allowed public celebrations with certain restrictions,” said Abhijit Roy, founder member of Prantic Cultural Society, Indirapuram.

At Sector 10, Raj Nagar, there was no staging of Ramlila unlike the previous years, but organisers recited Ramcharitmanas, an epic composed by the 16th-century bhakti poet Tulsidas, for seven days.

“The small event ended with the Dussehra festivities. Like last year, we did not burn effigies this year either. But thanks to the relaxation in curbs this year, people were able to celebrate in public,” said Rajendra Tyagi, councillor from Raj Nagar.

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Monday, November 29, 2021