State observes Jagadhatri Puja maintaining all Covid protocols
Kolkata: This Jagadhatri Puja, the old grandeur will be missed at major pandals in Krishnanagar and Chandannagar, where committees have reduced the Puja budgets and kept the celebrations a low-key affair in compliance with the High Court order due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jagadhatri Puja is the biggest festival of Chandannagar and Krishnanagar in Hooghly and Nadia districts respectively. In Chandannagar, the Puja is a 5 day affair while in Krishnanagar the celebration is for a single day.
Madhab Das, a member of the Chandannagar Puja committee said because of the pandemic the budget was reduced by 30 to 40 per cent on an average. The organisers of 171 community Pujas are worshipping the idol, while the 9 Puja committees have decided to perform the rituals on river banks. The Puja is being held maintaining the COVID-19 protocol. Visitors are not allowed to enter within 10 metres radius of big pandals. For small pandals, the area within 5 metres radius will remain out of bounds for revellers.
The pandals are open on three sides. No overhead gates have been erected on the main roads. The visitors have been requested to offer 'pushpanjali' digitally. Visitors will have to wear masks and use hand sanitisers while visiting pandals up to the permissible point.
The Puja at Chandannagar, which was once a French colony, is known to have attracted thousands of visitors for the use of decorative lights. The decorations using lights at the pandals had received global recognition. In India, for major religious or social functions decorative lights from Chandannagar are used.
"The condition of the firms that make decorative lights is deteriorating every day. Because of the pandemic, the Durga Puja committees in Kolkata did not install Chandannagar lights this year. In Chandannagar, some big Puja pandals have installed lights but the old grandeur is missing," said Mahadeb Das, the spokesman for the oldest decorative light manufacturer at Chandannagar.
The oldest Puja in Krishnanagar is held at the Rajbari. It was Maharaja Krishnachandra, who had started the Puja there. It is believed that he was arrested by Siraj- ud- Daulah for not paying tax on time. He was arrested and released on the day of Vijaya Dashami of Durga Puja. The people could not celebrate Durga Puja as Raja was in prison that year. So, they organised Jagadhatri Puja to celebrate his release from prison.
The Puja of Burima at Chashapara is 250-year-old while that of Kanthalpota dates back to more than 200 years.
The big idols are placed on bamboo made structures called 'Song.'
The 'song' bearers take the idols for immersion in procession. Due to the pandemic, no procession will be allowed. This was communicated to the Puja committees by the district administration on Sunday. The Puja will be held there on Monday.