Tripura club organises Durga Puja sans idol in remembrance of three local Covid-19 casualties
Adhering to the prescribed guidelines for Durga Puja, the club reduced the scope of devotees gathering by organising ghot puja (puja of a kalash instead of an idol)Updated: Oct 24, 2020, 11:48 IST
Though Durga Puja is being celebrated following strict guidelines amid the Covid-19 pandemic in the country, a club in Tripura has organised the puja sans an idol for the first time in 52 years.
Established in 1953, the Tarun Sangha Club located at Dhaleswar in Agartala took the initiative this year to express sympathy to the bereaved family members of three persons, including the club’s former secretary, who died of Covid-19 in the neighbourhood.
Adhering to the prescribed guidelines for Durga Puja, the club reduced the scope of devotees gathering by organising ghot puja (puja of a kalash instead of an idol). They have decided to allow only five-six people at a time for pushpanjali, while maintaining social distance.
“We lost three people in our locality due to Covid-19; some are still in home isolation. This year is different from the previous year. As per our decision to pray for the departed souls, we just offered puja to Goddess Durga through a ghot without any idol for the first time since we started organising a puja in 1968. Secondly, we wanted to avoid a crowd during the procession of Vijaya Dashami (Dussehra),” said the president of Tarun Sangha club Tarun Kumar Sinha.
He further added that they didn’t collect subscriptions from the locality this time and organised the puja from the club fund. The club spent nearly Rs 3.50 lakh for the puja last year. The expenditure was reduced to Rs 45,000-50,000 this time. They also cancelled social and cultural programmes this year.
The club has over a hundred members, including 32 women. Every year, the women organise the Durga Puja.
“The previous year, 11 of our women members prepared the bhog (prasad). But this time, three members have decided to prepare the bhog each day, while maintaining social distance. Unlike other years, we will not distribute prasad among the devotees,” said Sinha.
The Tripura government issued a set of guidelines early October for Durga Puja. They included collecting online subscriptions, reducing the number of puja pandals, avoiding narrow entry and exit systems in the pandals, allowing 5-10 people to visit the idol at a time, mandatory Covid-19 tests of puja organisers , priests, volunteers and others.