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The Maharashtra government has banned Garba, dandiya, and other such festive celebrations in this state as Navratri begins on Thursday. The ban will be imposed between October 7 and October 15. The state government released a circular in which it asked the organisers of Goddess Durga pandals to make arrangements for the online darshans. The officials have banned the entry of more than five people in community pandals. The state has also banned the serving of food and beverages in the pandals.

The state home department said even though the Covid-19 cases are declining, the threat of a third Covid-19 wave still looming. Maharashtra government urged citizens to take precautions while celebrating the festival. It asked organisers to give priority to organise health camps such as blood donation, awareness programme for dengue, malaria.

"Do not organize Garba, dandiya, or any other cultural programmes. Instead, give priority to organise health camps such as blood donation and awareness programmes for the prevention of Covid-19, malaria, and dengue, among others. The community mandals should make arrangements for online darshan of the idols through cable network, website, Facebook, and other social media platforms," the state government said in a circular.

Here's the latest circular by the Maharashtra government for the Navratri festival:

  • Only five people can take part in the immersion of household idols and 10 devotees in those installed by community groups.
  • Ensure no crowding while holding bhajan, aarti, and kirtan, and noise pollution norms are also followed.
  • Procession prohibited for home arrival or immersions of the idols
  • Children, senior citizens, and pregnant women should avoid participating in any kind of procession.
  • People avoid traditional idols and use idols made up of metal or marble for worshipping
  • If the idols installed are made of clay or are eco-friendly, then they can be immersed at home itself. If not possible at home, the idols should be immersed in a nearby artificial pond.
  • If any community Mandal installing idols falls under the Covid-19 containment zone, it will have to immerse them in an iron water tank in their premises.
  • Mandals should arrange an online darshan of idols to avoid crowding and use Facebook and other social media platforms to reach out to devotees.

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