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10-day Ganesha festival begins sans procession, dhols

Amid chants of Ganpati bappa moraya, thousands of devotees are taking the Lord Ganesha idol home as the 10-day festival begins on Saturday on Ganesh Chaturthi. While the enthusiasm is intact, what is missing this year is celebrations as Ganesh mandals have decided not to take out procession in view of Covid pandemic.

For over a century, the Ganpati festival has been celebrated in Pune and other parts of Maharashtra through large-scale celebrations amid big processions of which the major attraction is Dhol-tasha (drums and cymbals). This year, these Dhol-tasha pathaks (troupes) were missing ahead of the festival.

To avoid the crowd, many citizens got Ganesha idols home on Friday itself with the ceremonial installation of the idols being planned by most till 11:30 am.

The five ‘manache ganpati’ (most revered ganeshas) in Pune have also decided not to set up separate pandals and avoid any decoration to prevent crowding. These five ganpati mandals attract large crowds every year as devotees from across Maharashtra come for their darshan.

To avoid any VIP movement, these manache Ganpati mandals have decided to install their idols by trustees of each other. To check the spread of coronavirus, chief minister Uddhav Thackeray has also appealed to people to celebrate Ganpati festival in a simple manner.

Source: Hindustan Times

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