DHAKA, October 16, 2020 (BSS) – Durga Puja, the biggest religious festival of the Bangalee Hindu community, will be arranged at 30,225 puja mandaps across the country this year.
In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, the number of puja mandaps decreased by 1,173 as Durga Puja was arranged at 31,398 mandaps across the country last year, Bangladesh Puja Udjapan Parishad General Secretary Nirmal Kumar Chattarjee told BSS.
He said a total of 233 puja mandaps will arrange Durga Puja in the capital while the number was 237 last year.
Durga Puja will be arranged at 7014 mandaps in Dhaka division while at 3906 mandaps in Chattogram, 4689 in Khulna, 2646 in Sylhet, 1584 in Mymensingh, 1701 in Barishal, 5250 in Rangpur and 3435 in Rajshahi division this year, he added.
The annual five-day “Sharodiya Durgotsab” will begin with the unveiling of the face of the deity and Kalparambho on the day of Maha Sashthi on October 22 (Thursday).
The incarnation (Bodhon) of the Goddess Durga will be held on October 21 (Wednesday) on Maha Panchami, a day before Maha Maha Sashthi at temples across the country.
Maha Saptami puja will be performed on October 23 (Friday), Maha Ashtami, Kumari Puja and Sandhi Puja on October 24 (Saturday) and Maha Nabami Puja on October 25 (Sunday).
The festival will end with the immersion of the idols of the Goddess Durga on Bijoya Dashami on October 26 (Monday).
The Mahalaya, the auspicious occasion heralding the advent of goddess Durga, was celebrated on September 17 last.
“In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, health guidelines and other directives of the government will be strictly followed during the cerebration of the Durga Puja,” Nirmal Chattarjee said.
Idol makers and artisans are now passing their busy days in making idols of Durga Puja at puja mandaps across the country with six days left for the biggest religious festival of the Bangalee Hindu community.
Generally, the idols are made diligently and methodically by the artisans to create exquisite pieces of artistry.
In Dhaka city, the main puja pandals are at Dhakeshwari National Temple, Ramkrishna Mission and Math, Kalabagan, Banani, Shakhari Bazar and Ramna Kali Mandir.
Durga Puja signifies the birth of Durga with the blessings of gods, as a collective energy, to fight the demon king Mahishasura.
Exquisitely crafted and decorated life-size clay idols of the goddess Durga depicting her slaying the demon Mahishasura are set up in temples and Durga Puja pandals.
These idols are then worshiped for five days and immersed in the river on the fifth day. The puja is performed in temples, homes and in the public, featuring temporary stage decorations.
The celebrations also include other major deities of Hinduism such as goddess Lakshmi (goddess of wealth, prosperity), Saraswati (goddess of knowledge and music), Ganesha (god of good beginnings) and Kartikeya (god of war).
Recently Health Services Division issued directives for maintaining health guidelines during the Durga Puja in the wake of coronavirus outbreak.
According to the instructions, while entering the puja mandap, one has to maintain health guidelines, including social distancing, using hand sanitizer and wearing mask.
Hand washing facilities, sanitizers and thermal scanner should be ensured at the entry points of puja mandaps.
No procession will be allowed at the time of immersion of the goddess Durga. Prashad distribution, arati (dance competition) and cultural festivals should be avoided.
Earlier on October 4, the Home Ministry gave some instructions to ensure the security of the puja mandaps and maintain law and order.
The Puja Udjapan Committees are asked to dial 999 for emergency help or support, if needed.