Udayavni Special

Mangaluru: COVID-19 anxiety covers this year’s festive celebrations


Team Udayavani, Oct 15, 2020, 2:41 PM IST

Mangaluru: ‘Mangaluru Dussehra’ since ages has been a veritable festival of devotion and grandeur exhibiting rural arts and culture and the Dussehra procession.

However, this year, people in and around the city will be deprived of the opportunity to witness the fascinating procession and the events taking place at temples during the Navratri festival due to the COVID-19 scare.

After the Mysuru Dussehra, Mangaluru Dasara is the most lavishly celebrated Dussehra in the State.

Since decades, the eve of the festival sees preparations in full swing, but this year is limited only to traditional rituals.

The custom of performing ‘Hulivesha’ in front of houses before Navratri, has been confined to temple premises.

The Mangaluru Dussehra festival was a platform for showcasing many artisanal attractions from the rural parts of the district and outlying areas. Tens of thousands of attractions, cultural events, food stalls adored every street of the city depicting a microcosm of the countryside.

The celebration of Dussehra is of tremendous significance to the temples such as Kudroli Sri Gokarnanath, Mahatobhara Sri Mangaladevi Temple, Halekote Sri Mariamma Mahishamardhini Temple and Sri Venkataramana Temple.

This time, it has been made necessary to use sanitizers, wear masks and line up to view the temple deities. There is no doubt that this will inevitably dilute the Dussehra celebration.

The most memorable part of the Mangaluru Dussehra is the procession of idols of the goddess taken to immersion on the day of Vijayadashami. The procession also sees several tableaus accompanied by dancing devotees of all ages.

However, this year the procession too has been affected by the pandemic. All idols of the goddesses will be immersed in the temple premises.

The administration of the Sri Mangaladevi temple has informed that the temple rituals during the festival will be broadcast live on the temple’s official Facebook page in order to reduce the visits of devotees to the temple.

Another major attraction of the Mangaluru Dussehra, the ‘doll exhibition,’ held on the grounds of the Sharavu Sri Mahaganapathi Temple for over 11 years, will not be held this year.

Every year, Kateel Sri Durgaparameshwari Temple’s Navaratri festival would see ‘Hulivesha’ performers coming from Bajpe.

However, this year, all temples in the district’s rural areas – Mulki Bappanadu Sri Durgaparameshwari Temple, Pulali Sri Rajarajeshwari Temple and the Kateel temple – will be celebrating the Navratri festival limited only to temple rituals.

Mangaluru city’s bustling and lighted streets during this time of the year are also missing this year. Lightings are currently only being installed from the Kudroli temple to Ladyhill Circle.

Ramanatha Hegde, chief administrator of the Mahatobhara Sri Mangaladevi Temple said: “All temple rituals will be live on the temple’s Facebook page. Devotees coming to the temple must adhere to the guidelines. Let us all pray that the novel coronavirus is eradicated from our country.”

HS Sairam, president of Kudroli Sri Gokarnanath Kshetra, said: This time Mangaluru Dussehra is being celebrated in a simple manner. The temple has made some arrangements accordingly. There will be separate entry and exit points along with barricades inside the temple. Volunteers have been assigned to allow only a certain number of people to enter the temple at a time. All guidelines must be mandatorily adhered to by visitors.”

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