DIPHU, Oct 12: Diphu town wore a festive look as the Durga Puja, a four-day religious festival started with the Saptami celebrations. This time due to Covid restrictions by the district administration to control the pandemic several puja committees have avoided putting up puja pandals in and around Diphu town.
The district administration has allowed only those puja committees which have their permanent sites to set up puja mandaps and not on road sides.
Due to this restriction two main puja mandaps in Diphu markets, which attract large crowds have been missed. Unlike the previous Durga Puja with loud dhak dhol (drum) and sound system, this time there is an absence of that musical atmosphere.
Visitors and devotees coming to offer puja have to maintain Covid protocols like social distancing, wearing of masks and use of hand sanitizers.
One such permanent site for putting up puja mandap is the Shiv Bari Road Sarbojonin Puja Committee at Shiv Bari Road, here. The puja mandap has been set up in a simple, but attractive manner with minimal decoration.
The joint secretary of the puja committee, Joy Malya Deb Roy talking to The Hills Times said, “We have put up the puja mandap in a simple way by following Covid protocols. We have made it mandatory for all members of the committee and volunteers including the priest to have a complete dose of Covid vaccination.”
He further said, “We are opening pujas for the devotees from morning 6 am to evening 9 pm during the four days’ celebrations. We are allowing only 6 to 7 persons at a time to offer puja. Devotees and visitors coming to the puja mandap should wear masks and use hand sanitisers. In order to minimise the expenditure we have not used dhak dhol for puja and decorations.”
Roy also said that only bhog prasad will be served in disposable plates to devotees and visitors at the puja mandap and no ‘Khichdi’ bhog would be served this year.
At Diphu markets families with children are seen buying new dresses and garments for puja. Children are looking for toys and balloons. Fruit stalls have a good sale as many are buying fruits for puja offerings.
The remaining three days will see visitors thronging the various puja mandaps to pay reverence to Maa Durga.