The festival of Ganesh Chaturthi is being celebrated across the country with great devotion today. The day marks the birth of Lord Ganesha, who is a symbol of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune. People place clay idols of Lord Ganesha in their home and worship them during the 10-day long festival. Ganesh Chaturthi is a major attraction in Maharashtra, where people celebrate it with great zeal.
President Ram Nath Kovind and Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu have greeted people on Ganesh Chaturthi. Mr Kovind said, the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi, celebrated as the birthday of Lord Ganesha, is an expression of people’s enthusiasm, joy and forbearance in taking every section of the society along on this occasion. He said, at present we are facing the challenges posed by COVID-19 pandemic. The President hoped and prayed that Lord Ganesha bless everyone to overcome this pandemic at the earliest possible and we all live a happy and healthy life. On this festival, he called upon people to pledge to strengthen mutual harmony, fraternity and unity among all citizens of the country.
Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu said, Lord Ganesha is revered as an embodiment of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune. He said, people invoke Lord Ganesha and seek his blessings to remove obstacles in the path before they begin anything new. Mr Naidu said, though huge processions and gatherings are the hallmark of Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations, this year, people must strive to tone down the celebrations in view of the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. He urged fellow citizens to strictly adhere to COVID-19 physical distancing protocols and maintain good hygiene while celebrating the festival. The Vice President hoped that this Ganesh Chaturthi will bring peace, harmony and prosperity in the country.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has greeted people at the auspicious festival of Ganesh Chaturthi. In a tweet, Mr Modi hoped that the blessings of Bhagwan Shri Ganesh will always be upon people and there will be joy and prosperity all over.
In Maharashtra, in the midst of COVID-19 pandemic where visiting pandals has become a difficult task, pandals have roped in technology so as to offer virtual darshan to the devotees by making use of social media platforms.
The 10-day Ganeshotsav began today with the installation of clay idols of Lord Ganesh. Apart from common citizens, prominent personalities from politics and bollywood too have installed the Ganesha idols.
As per reports, many families are using various applications to connect with their family members and friends, as the viral outbreak has restricted physical movements of people. On the first day of the festival, many people as well as prominent Ganesh Pandals took to social media to send invitations for online ‘Aartis’ and consecration of idols. One of the famous Ganesh Mandals, the GSB Ganpati Mandal in Mumbai went live on various social media platforms to avoid crowding of devotees at the Pandal.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray who too offered prayers along with his family after installing the idol of Lord Ganesh at his official residence said people should not forget their social responsibility of wearing masks and avoiding crowding while welcoming Lord Ganesh. Thackeray also said he prayed to Lord Ganesh to rid the world of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Ganesh Chaturthi is being celebrated in Goa also. It is the biggest festival of Goa. Ganesh Chaturthi known as chavath in local Konkani language is a festival in Goa wherein all the family members come and unite together. It is a manifestation of family and social solidarity. However, due to COVID pandemic, many people across the State have curtailed their celebrations. Most of the families have decided to have only two days celebrations. Poojas and Aartis are in houses before decorated Ganesh altars. There are no public Ganesh Utsav events that used to be there in Pandals. Amidst pandemic, authorities have issued guidelines for safety of the public. Rains too have dampened the enthusiasm to certain extent.
In Karnataka also, Ganesh festival is celebrated with festive zeal. However, due to the Corona pandemic, restrictions are in place for erecting Ganesh pandals for public view. Only one pandal is allowed in a municipal ward in the cities and at a given time only 20 people are allowed to gather in the pandals. There is restriction also imposed in the submersion of the idol.
The people have been asked to immerse the idol in their houses itself and the public pandal idols are to be immersed at designated places after seeking permission from the authorities. Wearing of masks, social distancing and sanitisation are made mandatory in the pandals.
Owing to the restrictions, many organisations have gone online to celebrate the festival in Bengaluru. Musicians and singers invited to render classical music during the 11 days Ganesh Utsav in Karnataka will be streamed live online. The pooja to the Ganesh idol is also streamed live for the disciples.