BHUBANESWAR: The Old Station Bazaar Durga Puja Samiti here has decided to switch to digital mode to enable devotees to have darshan of Goddess Durga and also make home delivery of the prasad free of cost.
With restrictions on religious functions and gathering till October 31 to curb the spread of Covid-19, puja rituals will begin on Shashti with Bela Barani (invitation) to the Goddess, and be followed by Saptami, Ashtami, Navami and Vijaya Dasami rituals. The committee will live stream the five-day festival on their Facebook page.
“We are requesting devotees not to visit the mandap and witness the Durga Puja rituals via our Facebook page - Old Station Bazaar Durga Puja Committee. We will share the phone numbers on our page and devotees inclined to have prasad can contact us,” said samiti’s secretary Deepak Jena.Boondi ladoo prasad will be offered to devotees on Shashti, Saptami and Ashtami.
Fruits as offering to the Devi Maa on Navami and ‘Dahi Pakhala’ (water rice with curd and greens) on Dashami will be given away as prasad.
“We request devotees to contact us till the afternoon as our volunteers will not deliver prasad in the evening. Prasad will be provided for at least three members of a family,” said Jena.
Due to the pandemic, organisers have scaled down the celebrations this year. A Cuttack-based artist has made a 4-feet high idol of Goddess Durga. The idol will be decorated with only crown, necklace and other ornaments by using paper and tinsel, he added.
In order to create awareness among the people, the samiti has put up banners in the area requesting devotees to stay at home during puja. Volunteers will be deployed to ensure no visitors arrive at the pandal to witness the rituals.
“We are also not receiving donations from the devotees due to the health crisis. Puja will be organised with fund collected from 640 members of the samiti. The surplus money will be donated to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund for fighting Covid-19 battle,” said Jena.
On an average, over five lakh people visit Old Station Bazaar puja mandap every year. Last year, the replica of Ajanta Ellora caves of Aurangabad in Maharashtra was set up to attract visitors. The idol was decorated with a gold crown, necklace, earrings and nose ring weighing 1.5 kg.