The Ganesh Chathurthi festival this year will be celebrated from August 22 to September 1. However, the Bhagyanagar Ganesh Utsav Samithi on Monday declared that there would be no centralized immersion ceremony this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic and appealed to pandal organisers to keep the celebrations a low key affair.
This apart, the Utsav Samithi also appealed to pandal organisers to immerse idols at lakes or rivulets in their close proximity. They urged the organisers to ensure physical distancing between devotees at the pandals, besides mandatory use of masks and sanitisers. Pandal organisers have been specifically requested not to set up gigantic idols and to celebrate the festivities without much fanfare.
All pandal organisers have to follow the Covid-19 guidelines issued by the State and Central governments. More importantly, on immersion day, only four to five persons should participate as a means to ensure physical distancing, Utsav Samithi Secretary R. Shashidhar said, adding that colony associations and youth associations should set up small idols and avoid much fanfare. The immersion should also be done at ponds and lakes in their vicinity. The festivities commence from August 22 and end on September 1 (Anantha Chaturdashi Day), he said.
Every year, over one lakh Ganesh idols are set up by colony associations, youth associations and others in the city and close to 70,000 idols are immersed in the Hussain Sagar during the centralized immersion procession from Balapur.
Pandal organisers have also been asked to perform the Harathi at 7 pm daily and pray to the Lord of Beginnings to save the society from the coronavirus and shower his blessings, Utsav Samithi General Secretary Bhagwanth Rao, said, adding that the idea was to ensure there was no spread of the virus during the festivities. The Balapur Ganesh Utsav Samithi has already announced that the annual practice of auctioning the famous Balapur Ganesh Laddu would not be held this year.