Puja mandaps, temples to stay closed after evening ritual
Durga Puja, the largest religious festival of the Hindu community, will be celebrated on a limited scale this year due to coronavirus pandemic.
All the temples across the country will remain closed after the evening rituals (Sandhyarati) as the festival will be celebrated from today, said Bangladesh Puja Udjapan Parishad and Mahanagar Sarbajanin Puja Committee yesterday.
The Mahanagar Sarbajanin Puja Committee organised the "Sharodio Durga Puja 2020" view exchange meeting in the capital's Dhakeswari temple yesterday.
The main ritual of the Durga Puja will start from today through Sasthi Puja while the celebration will end on October 26 through Vijaya Dashami.
In between, special prayers will be offered tomorrow with prayers for recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
Apart from the Bhog Prasad of Goddess Durga, no khichuri or other Prasad distribution and will be organised this year along with the victory procession on the day of Vijaya Dashami.
Asked about the evening rituals (Sandhyarati), Shailendranath Majumder, president of the Mahanagar Sarbajanin Puja Committee, said, "Sandharati" usually starts around 6:00pm and it takes 20 to 25 minutes to complete the ritual.
Visitors won't be allowed to enter the temple or puja mandapa from the beginning of Sandhyarati. Only temple or mandapa related staffs will remain inside the temple.
This year puja will be held in 30,213 mandapas all over the country. In the Dhaka city, number of puja mandaps is 232, which was 238 last year.
In the view exchange meeting, Kishore Ranjan Mandal said different programmes of the Durga Puja will be broadcast live from the Facebook page of the Mahanagar Sarbajanin Puja Committee and Dhakeswari National Temple so that devotees can participate in the related rituals from their home.
The idols and puja programmes in different puja mandaps and temples will be live telecasted on different TV channels so that the devotees along with their family members can watch the idols from their homes.
Bangladesh Puja Udjapan Parishad yesterday also issued a 22-point instruction for the devotees and visitors to follow which include not to organise any cultural event or arati competition and to avoid lighting.
The instructions also said all, including the temple authorities and the visitors, must wear masks.
Earlier in the last week, Bangladesh Puja Udjapan Parishad said there would be no "Kumari Puja", one of the main attractions of Durga Puja.
According to Hindu scriptures and the Bangla almanac, Durga Puja is observed in synchronisation with the moon's cycle.
Durga, the slayer of demon Mahishashur, appears to be riding on the back of a lion and accompanied by her children Ganesh, Kartik, Lakshmi and Saraswati with 10 weapons in her 10 hands.
At the invocation of the devotees, she descends on the earth, stays for the next four days and leaves after slaying all evil forces and blessing the devotees.
Every year, Goddess Durga arrives on a specific carrier and chooses another bearer for her departure. Her choice is seen to predict how the following year will fare for the world and its inhabitants.