Vinayaka Chavithi: AP govt asks people to celebrate at home, not in public places

The Andhra Pradesh government has taken into account similar steps by the governments of Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.
Ganesh idol
Ganesh idol
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The Andhra Pradesh government has issued guidelines for the celebration of Vinayaka Chavithi, or annual Ganesh festival, this year. Devotees in the state have been instructed to perform the pooja and other festivities inside their homes, instead of public places. The festival falls on August 22 this year. 

People have been asked to strictly follow “social distancing norms” and always wear a face mask while venturing out to visit markets to procure different things needed for the celebrations. While temples have been opened in the state since June, worship must continue while following government guidelines for containing COVID-19 spread. 

The decision was taken after examining similar steps taken by the governments of Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, the government order issued on Thursday said. 

Back in July, the Maharashtra government had issued Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) to be followed while celebrating the Ganesh festival, which is usually observed on a very large scale in the state. The government had imposed various restrictions while still allowing celebrations in public places. Those who are organising the Ganesh ‘mandals’, or establishing the idol outdoors,  were asked to take permission from the local authorities. The height of the idol was capped at four feet outdoors and at two feet inside the house.  Immersion processions have not been allowed, and crowding during various religious rituals is to be avoided.

Similarly in Karnataka, the government has allowed celebration of the festival in public places with a few restrictions. While the government had previously banned public celebrations with “decorated pandals”, the revised instructions issued on Tuesday stated that people can install Ganesha idols that are up to four feet tall in pandals, while ensuring physical distance among the devotees. Similar to Maharashtra, in Karnataka too, immersion processions will be banned to avoid crowding. 

Ganesha idols installed within households were capped at a height of two feet, and devotees have been instructed to bring clay or mud idols and to immerse them in a tub or bucket in the house. 

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