Entry of visitors barred in many temples including Dakshineswar
Kolkata: In a first, major Kali temples in the city and its outskirts will keep doors closed for the devotees during Diwali or Kali Puja. However, the temple authorities have also come up with alternatives so that the devotees aren't heartbroken and kept completely deprived of the blessings of the Goddess.
Meanwhile, Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee took to social media for expressing her greetings to the devotees, who have been advised to maintain all the covid guidelines during the festivities. The Chief Minister tweeted: "Heartiest greetings to all on the occasion of Bhoot Chaturdashi. Let us all observe this day by lighting 'choddo bati' and eating 'choddo shaak.' She also tweeted the same in Bengali language, making reference to the Bengali custom of lighting fourteen lamps and consuming fourteen varieties of greens on the eve of Kali Puja or Diwali.
Temples have set some new rules to worship the Goddess following the new normal. For the first time in 165 years, the sanctum sanctorum at the Dakshineswar temple will be out of the visitor's reach.
Giant screens will be installed at the parking area to enable the devotees to see the puja. Barricades have been put up around the 'natmadir' to prevent devotees from crowding the area or sitting there. "It will be a Kali Puja without the devotees," said Prasun Hazra, one of the trustees of Dakshineshwar temple.
The temple was set up
by Rani Rashmoni. It was opened to the public on May 31, 1855.
The descendants of Rani Rashmoni will be allowed to enter the temple in batches and the same batch of priests will conduct the puja rituals in view of the pandemic. They will have to wear masks. No photography will be allowed at the sanctum sanctorum.
Earlier, lakhs of devotees used to stay at the temple complex throughout the night to witness the puja. Many took a holy dip at the river Hooghly after the puja.
"The situation is different and we hope that the devotees will understand that to check the spread of COVID 19, gathering should be avoided," said Hazra.
In Kalighat and Thanthania Kali temples, devotees will also not be allowed inside the temple. Bursting of crackers is also strictly prohibited.
Kali puja will be held without grandeur at Barasat as well. Nineteen big puja committees have drastically cut down the budget and puja will be held as a low key affair.
In Kolkata, two famous kali puja organized by the followers of Somen Mitra at Amherst Street and Phata Kesto at Keshab Sen Street will also be humble celebrations.
The size of the idol has been reduced and the budget allotted for decorative lights has been reduced to a great extent.
The puja committees across the city along with the city police urged people through the public address system not to burst sound crackers and fire crackers that cause environmental pollution.