Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], September 10 (ANI): Amid strict COVID-19 restrictions in Mumbai, the Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations at the famous Lalbaugcha Raja pandal are muted as the darshan has gone virtual.
Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) has been imposed from September 10 to 19 as a precautionary measure, banning the gathering of people, to curb the transmission of the virus. The police stuck notices outside the pandal that read, "No devotees allowed to go for prayers."
The lane outside the pandal wore a deserted look as devotees were not permitted at the venue. Huge contingent of security personnel were lined up outside the venue to maintain the law and order situation.
The pandal authorities and some priests were present inside the venue. They offered prayers to lord Ganesh while following COVID protocols.
Before the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic hit the nation, people used to throng at the Lalbaugcha Raja Ganeshotsav pandal to get a glimpse of the massive idols of Lord Ganesh whose height used to vary from 15-20 feet from across the country. The pandal served as an attraction for devotees from all walks of life including Bollywood celebrities.
Last year, Lalbaugcha Raja Ganeshotsav Mandal, for the first time in history, refrained from holding the festivities in the wake of the pandemic. Instead, they had organised a blood and plasma donation camp.
However, this year, even after deciding to hold the celebration in a traditional manner, the devotees had to opt for attending the celebration online.
A group of people who travelled from Rajkot in Gujarat to Mumbai hoping to attend the pomp celebrations were left disappointed as permission was not granted to worship the lord at the temple or pandals.
"I did not know that the festivities are not be attended online this year. I have strong faith in lord Ganesh and visit Lalbaugcha Raja every year," said Bhavesh, who travelled from Gujarat.
Kishore, another devotee who stood outside the pandal said he had a lot of enthusiasm to attend the function at Lalbaugcha Raja. "It is a famous pandal. We have been coming here in groups. Unfortunately, we were not aware about the new guidelines of attending the festivities online," he said.
Following the government's order, the Mandal officials installed a four-feet Ganesh idol.
Earlier this year, the Maharashtra government had issued guidelines to restrict the height of the Ganesha idols. The height of the idols in public celebrations has been restricted to four feet while those in homes have been limited to two feet.
Meanwhile, the Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations at 'Mumbai Cha Raja' in Ganesh Galli today were also subdued.
"This is the 94th year of celebration in Ganesh Galli. As per the order of the state government, we are following COVID-19 protocols," said Nitish Mahadeswar, the treasurer.
Swapnil Parab, Secretary of the Mandal said, "For the devotees, the provision of attending the proceeding online have been made. People can participate in the festivities from the comfort of their home. Live broadcasting is happening."
Ganesh Chaturthi also known as Vinayak Chaturthi, is a ten-day festival that commenced today. The Hindu festival of Ganesh Chaturthi is dedicated to the Lord of new beginnings, Ganesha. (ANI)