However, this year the forest department has cancelled Ras Mela (fair) except the purifying bath in the wake of ongoing coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, said a government official
The authorities of the Department of Forest (West Division) have taken special security measures and fixed five safe river routes to facilitate Hindu devotees for their sacred bathing in Alorkol in Dublar Char of Sundarbans in celebration of a three-day traditional Ras Purnima, scheduled to begin on November 28.
The three-day Ras, a sacred festival of the Hindus marking the dancing in honour of Sri Krishna, is held on a full moon night in the month of Kartik.
However, this year the forest department has cancelled Ras Mela (fair) except the purifying bath in the wake of ongoing coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, said a government official.
“In addition to Rapid Action Battalion, Coast Guard and Bangladesh Navy, patrol teams of the forest department will be deployed to felicitate Hindu pilgrims in Pashur, Shewla, Bhola and Shibsa rivers and all five routes from November 28 for celebrating the bath,” Divisional Forest Officer of Sundarbans West Zone Dr Abu Naser Mohsin Hossain said yesterday.
The five permitted routes are Burigoalini and Kobadak to Batula-Bolnadi Rivers; Dublarchar through Patcosta canal and Hangsoraj River; Koyra-Kashiabad-Khashitana-Bojboja to Dublarchar through Arua Shibsha-Shibsha and Morjat River; Nalian Station to Dublarchar through Shibsha-Morjat River; and Dhangmari or Chandpai Range to Dublarchar through Tinkona Island and Bogi-Boleswar-Supoti Station-Kochikhali –Shewlarchar to Dublarchar.
“The entrance of the devotees without face masks has been prohibited and authorities asked all devotees to maintain social distance, use masks and maintain health safety guidelines set up by the government, to prevent coronavirus outbreak,” he said.
Each pilgrim will have to pay an entry fee for their travel to the Sundarbans and to choose only one route for entry and departure, he said, adding that adequate health protective items including hand sanitizers and hand wash will be kept preserved at Dublarchar bathing point.
The authorities have also imposed a ban on carrying all kinds of meat except chicken, fireworks, explosives, any domestic weapons, and firearms.
Sources said, deer hunting spree sees a sharp rise during the bathing festival every year as hundreds of boats carrying thousands devotees throng the venue at Alorkol in Dublar Char, close to the coast of Bay of Bengal, under Sharankhola Range of the mangrove forest.
“We had a meeting with the district administration to stop poaching of deer at any cost during this period,” he said, adding that the use of loudspeakers, any electronic device, carrying of firearms, and ammunition are completely banned and travelling will be prohibited at night.