Nipon Das of Assam was very much excited when he celebrated Durga Puja along with his family members at Nirala Estate Sarbojonin Durga Puja in the National Capital Region (NCR).
“I had the anticipation that we can’t celebrate Durga Puja this time due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But thanks to the Puja Samiti for ensuring that we celebrate Puja maintaining proper COVID-19 protocol,” said Nipon, working as an executive in a private company.
It is exciting celebrating Durga Puja far away from home, said Nipon.
However, Nipon was not the exception who celebrated Puja far away from their homes.
People like Abhisekh, Srimanta, Saswata, Gautam, Shivani, Ranjit, Rahul, Falguni and many others celebrated Durga Puja with proper Covid protocol.
Interestingly, Nirala Estate Sarbojonin Durga Puja Samiti has been celebrating puja for the fourth consecutive time.
“We celebrated Durga Puja maintaining all COVID-19 protocol issued by the government. We hope that by early next year we will get the COVID-19 vaccine and everything will become normal,” said Suman Banik, a member of the puja samiti,
“We will celebrate the fifth year of our Durga Puja in a grand manner,” he added.
Echoing the same view, Deblina Saha, another member of the Puja Samiti said that looking at the ongoing pandemic situation it was definitely a different Durga Puja experience in 2020.
“For the safety of our own family, we had to maintain social distancing, sanitizing & hand washing etc. Avoiding distribution of Prasads, daily Bhogs or Pushpanjali without flowers are definitely some steps taken by us to ensure safety. All devotees were also requested through posters and banners to sanitize them before entry and exit of the puja Mandap,” said Deblina who belongs from West Bengal.
Interestingly, Nirala Estate Sarbojonin Durga Puja Samiti (SDPS) is one such samiti where people from Assam, Tripura, West Bengal, Jharkhand and many others participate in the four-day-long festival.
“It was unpredictable at the beginning whether we can celebrate puja or not. But when state government issued guidelines allowing us to organise Puja, we were relaxed,” said Mitali Banerjee, another member of SDPS.
She said that puja pandals have been sanitized every alternative day.
“We had done all Durga Puja rituals like dhunuchi dance, hawan, packed prasad distribution etc keeping in mind all precautions of COVID-19,” said Mitali.
It may be mentioned here that the Delhi government had imposed total restrictions on festivals in the national capital.
As per an estimate, Delhi and NCR witnessed around 800 Durga Puja every year. However, due to COVID-19 pandemic, many Puja committees decided not to celebrate the festival.
In fact, the union health ministry has predicted that the coming festivals could be super spreader events for COVID-19 where there could be a huge spike of Coronavirus.