Maharashtra bans dandiya, garba, processions in navratri
There will be no garba or dandiya events during Navratri this year, as part of the state government’s efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19. The state home department issued guidelines on Tuesday for the celebration of Navratri, banning these community events and restricting the height of the idols to four feet in pandals and two feet in domestic celebrations.
The guidelines also banned processions on the first and last day of Navratri, which begins on October 17.
Ravan Dahan, which is usually celebrated on the last day of the festival and sees large crowds, will not be permitted. Gathering of more than five people in pandals and serving food or beverages are also prohibited. Organisers have been asked to make use of the digital medium for rituals like darshan, to avoid crowding in pandals.
“These are the guidelines along the lines of those issued for Ganeshotsav and Bakri Eid. The responsibility of enforcing the restrictions will be on local authorities, including municipal corporations, police and collectors,” said an official from the home department.
The state has also mandated that instead of idols made of plaster of Paris (PoP), organisers should opt for either clay or permanent idols. For immersion, artificial ponds should be constructed by local bodies near pandals as immersion at public places will not be allowed. Local police have been directed to issue orders on immersion day to avoid people gathering.
Ganesh Naidu, who organise dandiya events at Kora Kendra in Borivli, said, “We are not against restrictions, but we should be allowed to organise orchestra at the pandal and telecast it so that people can play dandiya sitting at their home. In the wake of the Covid-19 lockdown, people are fed up sitting at homes for the past six months and need some sort of entertainment and religious celebration,” he said. Dandiya and garba are particularly popular among the Gujarati community during Navratri.