BHUBANESWAR: With temples yet to open for devotees, married women in the City have planned alternative ways of performing Sabitri Brata rituals at home on Friday. Unlike other cities, temples here have not taken the online route for live-streaming of daily rituals. The devotion for rituals among women here is no less. While some have hired priests to perform rituals at home, others decided to chant ‘mantras’ themselves by seeking help from the internet.
Though the temples are hosting daily rituals by involving limited numbers of priests - preferably staying on the premises itself, no congregation is allowed due to the ongoing lockdown. Some priests have alternative arrangements for Savitri Brata at the temples too. “We are not allowing devotees to enter the temple. They call us in advance, come wearing masks and hand over the ‘bhoga’ to us outside the temple. We carry the ‘bhoga’, perform the rituals and hand it over back to them. They are not allowed to enter the temple,” said a priest of Lingaraj Temple, requesting anonymity.No gathering is allowed at the temples, said a BMC official adding if any violation comes to the Corporation’s notice, enforcement squad will take necessary steps.
Not many are risk-takers. They have chosen to maintain social distancing without any dilution. “This year, we have called a priest to our home to perform the rituals,” said Smita Kanungo of Acharya Vihar area. Being cautious about her family’s health, Smita said the priest will perform rituals in an open area in the front yard and will be given a mask and sanitiser. The residents of an apartment in Niladri Vihar area have installed loudspeakers on the premises. “There’s a temple on the premises where the priest will chant mantras and all women in the locality will follow his chants at home,” said Sangeeta Sahoo, a resident of the apartment.
In some houses, the Sabitri Batra used to be a mass affair. “Each year, we used to invite 30 women from the adjoining slums and other relatives to our house for observing the rituals together,” said Priyanka Singhdeo.