Video calling ‘darshan’: Ganesh Chaturthi goes online in Delhi

PTI, Aug 19, 2020, 4:22 PM IST

New Delhi: With almost the whole world functioning virtually during coronavirus times, Ganpati will give darshan on Zoom, Facebook, and Google platforms during the upcoming Ganesh Chaturthi festival which has been cut short from 10 to one and a half days at most places due to the pandemic.

The grandeur of Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations in Maharashtra may be unparalleled, but the homecoming of Bappa in Delhi is not lackluster either.

Every year in August devotees ”bring” Ganesha into their house, temple, or pandal (temporary shrine) as a guest. The idol is worshipped with elaborate rituals for 10 days along with various cultural programs. Festival organizers spend weeks planning the pandals, decorations, programs, and gatherings.

This year with the festival approaching on August 22 they are busy creating social media links, arranging virtual darshans, and ensuring safety and health protocols for those who will be there with the elephant-headed deity.

Marathi Mitra Mandal, Alaknanda, one of the oldest mandals in the NCR region, will hold ”aarti” and darshans on FB live.

“This is the second time in 35 years we are bringing Bappa for only one and a half days. It is difficult to organize festivals in COVID times and breaking tradition is considered to be a bad omen,” Nivedita Pande from the organizing committee told PTI.

“The problem is our Mandal is very old and we old people are not very tech-savvy. We are taking help from the younger generation and can at least have FB live aarti and darshans,” she said.

Sarvajanik Utsav Samitia, a body of prominent Marathis residing in the capital, celebrates the festival every year with theatre performances, spiritual songs, and a lot of dance-drama in association with Delhi Tourism at Dilli Haat, Kamani Auditorium and Mavalankar hall. For the first time in 25 years, they will bring Ganpati at a member’s house.

“We can not have a big celebration this year and will welcome Ganpati at a member’s house at Karol Bagh. Visitors will not be allowed. There will be aarti on Zoom platform in the evening with the immersion next day,” said Neena Hejib, the executive chairman of the Samiti.

Gurgaon-based Sarvajanik Ganeshotsava Samiti, in its 28th year, will have online celebrations for a week since this year is also the 100th death anniversary of Lokmanya Tilak, the founder of Ganpati festival.

“There will be no physical darshan, everything will be online only. We are not even revealing the place where we are having idol sthapana,” said Jeevan Talegaonkar from the organizing committee.

“This year we have decided not to raise funds from people or invite sponsorships and instead we are pooling in money like for a household function. We are having cultural programs where artistes record their performance and send it or they can go live in case of a solo performance,” he said.

“Zoom has an option to link with FB and we will use that. We are also having one hour lecture on Tilak among many programs,” he added.

In Maharashtra Sadan, Ganesh will stay for five days and there will be no processions or any event this time.

“The idol will be small and there will be only morning and evening aarti. The number of visitors will be strictly restricted while sanitization, temperature checks will be done at the entry gate,” said Pramod Kolapte, liaison officer, Maharashtra Sadan.

Ganesh Sewa Mandal, an 18-year-old association in east Delhi”s Laxmi Nagar, will have darshan slots for 30 minutes and each slot will have a maximum of 20 visitors. They will also have FB live darshans for devotees.

“It will be a small scale function of two days only where we will abide by safety and health protocols. We will have two musical programs telecast live on FB, CCTV cameras, sanitizers, and oximeters would be installed in the area,” said Mahendra Ladda, the founder president of the association.

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