Virus impact: Nakhoda Mosque sees thin crowd in Ramzan month

Virus impact: Nakhoda Mosque sees thin crowd in Ramzan month

KOLKATA: Nakhoda Mosque — also known as Kolkata's 'Badi Masjid' — which used to draw a huge crowd during iftar, wore a deserted look during Ramzan month this year amid surge in COVID-19 cases.

"In 2019, over 1500 people used to come to the mosque to break the fast on a daily basis. In 2020, the Masjid was closed due to COVID- 19 pandemic. This year, the number has reduced to 500," said an official of Nakhoda Mosque, situated at the Chitpur area in Central Kolkata (at the intersection of Zakaria Street and Rabindra Sarani).

Interestingly, the Masjid committee doesn't arrange the iftar. Nearby shop owners arrange fruits, grams and sharbat for the visitors. People, who come for Eid shopping in Burrabazar area, also distribute fruits among the 'rozadars (people who fast during the holy month).

"We are maintaining proper COVID-19 protocols during iftar. The preparation for iftar starts after Asar Namaz (4 pm prayer). People (shop owners outside the mosque who donate fruits and grams) come at 5 pm and plates full of fruits and grams are ready by 5.45 pm. Visitors break the fast with dates after hearing the Maghrib azan (after 6 pm)," pointed out the official of the mosque.

The cleric of Nakhoda Mosque pointed out that the number of people coming to perform Namaz five times a day has significantly dropped during the Ramzan month. "The number of people coming to perform Taraweeh namaz (Special night prayer performed during the Ramzan month) at the mosque has drastically reduced. Earlier, all the floors of the mosque used to be full. This year, only one floor is full during the Taraweeh Namaz," said the cleric. Depending upon the sighting of the moon, this year Eid will be celebrated on May 13 or May 14.

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