The Maharashtra government on Tuesday urged people to celebrate the upcoming Navratri and Dussehra festivals in a low-key manner due to the Coronavirus outbreak and suggested locals take part in the organization of health and blood donation camps instead of taking part in cultural events like dandiya, and garba that involve mass participation.
In the guidelines issued by the state home department, festival organizers, also called Mandals in local parlance, have been asked to spread awareness regarding Covid-19, malaria, and dengue among other diseases.
As per the guidelines, the height of Goddess Durga idols allowed to be installed by Mandals has been capped at four feet with a ban on immersion processions. The government also suggested that devotees opt for metal idols this time, and digital darshan through local cable networks, streaming formats, and social media. Mandals have been instructed to arrange for thermal screening at pandals (festival arena), which must be disinfected. Devotees desirous of darshan should strictly adhere to social distancing norms and wear masks, the government statement said. Immersion of household and Mandal idols from containment zones at public places has been disallowed.
As per the guidelines, the traditional Dussehra event of burning the effigy of demon king Ravana is advised to be held observing social distancing norms, without spectators, and in a symbolic manner.
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