The Mumbai civic body on Thursday said no ‘garba’ events will be allowed during the upcoming Navratri festival in view of the coronavirus pandemic and capped the height of Goddess Durga idols to four feet for community mandals and two feet for household ones.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) urged citizens to scrupulously follow COVID-19 protocols and keep celebrations low-key in view of the pandemic as it issued guidelines and standard operating procedure (SOP) for the nine-day-long Navratri festival which begins on October 7.
For the second straight year, the popular festival will be celebrated under the long shadow of the pandemic.
An official said the BMC has urged people to celebrate the festival in a low-key manner and asked ‘sarvajanik’ (public) mandals to take permission from the civic body via the online mode for installing Goddess Durga idols in pandals (marquees).
Heights of idols should be four feet for mandals and two feet for household ones, the civic official said.
He said no ‘garba’ events will be allowed during the festival.
Garba is a popular folk dance of Gujarat which is performed by devotees during the Navratri festival.
Mandals should arrange online darshan of idols to avoid crowding and use Facebook and other social media platforms to reach out to devotees, he said.
At the time of ‘aarti’ (a ritual of worship), not more than 10 people should be present at the venue and they should follow coronavirus guidelines like wearing face masks and maintaining social distancing, the official said.
Immersion of household idols should be done at homes by devotees if it is not possible for them to go to the nearest immersion point set up by the civic body, he said.
Only five people can take part in immersion of household idols and 10 devotees in those installed by community groups. In both cases, people taking part in immersion should be fully vaccinated against coronavirus, the official said.
People will not be allowed to submerge idols, which will have to be handed over to BMC officials at immersion points, he said.
Devotees should follow noise pollution rules as well as police guidelines during celebration of the festival to avoid to face any action, the official said.
If any community mandal installing idols falls under COVID-19 containment zone, it will have to immerse them in iron water tank in their premises, he said.
If during the festival, any building or ‘chawl’ (old row tenement) is sealed due to detection of coronavirus cases, their residents should immerse idols in buckets or water drums in their houses, the official added.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)