Heavy rainfall drenched parts of Bangladesh and somewhat dampened the auspicious festivity among Hindu devotees as they observed the seventh day of the Durga Puja celebrations
Durga Puja festivities have begun in Bangladesh and Hindu devotees nationwide have been engaging in the merriment in a safe manner on a limited scale in view of the coronavirus pandemic.
However, the spirit of the auspicious festivity was somewhat further dampened due to the heavy rainfall that is expected to continue for the next 48 hours. This inclement weather has made it difficult to go out and celebrate the single biggest festival for Bangali Hindus.
The festival began from Maha Sashti or the sixth day on Thursday which then rolled onto the Maha Saptami or the seventh day on Friday. Hindu devotees are set to celebrate the Maha Ashtami, Maha Nabami and Maha Dashami Puja on Saturday, Sunday and Monday respectively.
In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, this year, the puja mandaps nationwide have been scaled back from the ones last year with the festival being observed in a total of 30,225 puja mandaps across the country.
A total of 7,014 puja mandaps have been arranged in Dhaka division with 233 in the capital. Meanwhile, 3,906 mandaps in Chittagong, 4,689 in Khulna, 2,646 in Sylhet, 1,584 in Mymensingh, 1,701 in Barisal, 5,250 in Rangpur, and 3,435 in Rajshahi division have been arranged this year.
In Tangail, the Maha Saptami of the Durga Puja celebrations was observed amid religious fervour and harmony like the rest of the country on Friday.
The puja rituals began on Friday morning and Hindu devotees following proper hygiene rules offered flowers at the feet of Goddess Durga.
Meanwhile, the Central Puja Celebration Council arranged a special prayer for a swift recovery from the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and for peace in the country as well across the world around the afternoon.
In Brahmanbaria, the Sarbojanin puja mandap on the town’s Shahabari road saw low turnouts of devotees due to the heavy rainfall on Friday morning.
Priest Sujan Bhattacharya said: “On the day of the Maha Saptami, the prayers and offerings follow special rituals and customs. In the morning, Hindu worshippers of mother Sree Sree Durga offered flowers or Anjali at the feet of Goddess Durga. After that prayers were offered for the welfare of their family as well as the nation. Special prayers were held for relief from the corona pandemic.”
Meanwhile, devotees have been largely inconvenienced by the heavy rain all day. The normal activities of the temple have been disrupted.
In Moulvibazar, the Maha Saptami of the Durga Puja celebration was conducted in 969 mandaps in seven upazilas of the district on Friday.
Every mandap is full of seasonal festivities. Necessary preparations have been made by the puja committees for the celebration of the biggest religious festival of the followers of traditional religions.
Pankaj Roy Munna, general secretary of the Moulvibazar district unit of the Bangladesh Puja Udjapan Parishad, said: “Some instructions have already been given to the committees. Everyone must enter the mandap maintaining a safe distance while wearing masks. The puja mandap has to be closed between 7pm to 8 pm after the evening aarti.”
Recitation of verses from the Holy Chandi, blowing of conch shells and beating of dhak-dhols at temples and pandals are being continued from Maha Shashti which will continue till immersion of idols of goddess Durga on October 26.
The five-day festival began on Thursday with the incarnation (Bodhon) of the Goddess Durga on the day of Maha Shashti.
Maha Ashtami, Kumari Puja and Sandhi Puja will be held on Saturday while Maha Nabami Puja on Sunday and Bijoya Dashami on Monday.
The biggest religious festival of the Hindus will come to an end with the immersion of the idols of the Goddess Durga in the nearby rivers and water bodies across the country on the day of Bijoya Dashami on October 26.
Our correspondent Abdullah Al Numan, Tangail; Ujjal Chakraborty, Brahmanbaria, and Saiful Islam, Moulvibazar contributed to this report