Durga Puja begins across the country

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Desk, Oct 22: Durga Puja, the biggest religious festival of the Hindu community, began on Thursday with Maha Sashthi puja at temples across the country maintaining health guidelines set by the government due to Covid-I9 pandemic.

A mood of festivities persists among the devotees irrespective of ages marking the festival while adequate security measures have already been taken in the puja pandals across the country.

The five-day festival starts with ‘Bodhon’ of the Goddess Durga marking Sashthi while the festival 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 October 26.

The Mahalaya, the auspicious occasion heralding the advent of goddess Durga, was celebrated on September 17 last.

In Dhaka city, the main puja mandaps have been set up at Dhakeshwari National Temple, Ramkrishna Mission and Math, Kalabagan, Banani, Shakhari Bazar and Ramna Kali Mandir.

Recently Health Services Division issued some directives for maintaining health guidelines during the Durga Puja in the wake of coronavirus outbreak.

According to the instructions, while entering the puja mandap, one has to maintain health guidelines, including social distancing, using hand sanitizer and wearing mask.

Hand washing facilities, sanitizers and thermal scanner should be ensured at the entry points of puja mandaps.

This year no procession will be allowed to be brought out across the country ahead of the immersion of idols during Durga Puja this time due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The decision was taken at a meeting on law and order during Durga Puja at the Home Ministry held virtually with Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan in the chair on Sunday.

Earlier on October 4, the Home Ministry gave some instructions to ensure the security of the puja mandaps and maintain law and order.

President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina have issued separate messagesc greeting the members of the country’s Hindu community on this occasion.

In his message, President Hamid said, “The main religious festival of the Bangalee Hindu community is Durga Puja. The country’s Hindu community has been celebrating the puja amid huge enthusiasm and festivity with different rituals since ancient times.”

Durga Puja is not only a religious festival, but also a social one, he added.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, in her message, said that Durga Puja is not only a festival of the Hindu community, rather today it has turned into a universal festival.

Destruction of evil spirits and the worship of truth and beauty are the main features of Durgotshob (Durga festival), she added.

Noting that Bangladesh is a country of communal harmony since ancient times, Sheikh Hasina said, “We celebrate all religious festivals together being imbued with the motto ‘Religion for individuals, festival for all’ in Bangladesh.”

Meanwhile, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan inaugurated Durga Puja organized by Sanatan Samaj Kalyan Sangha at Krishibid Institute of Khamar Bari in the capital this evening.

At the program the minister said that the people of Bangladesh are living in peace as the country is following the non-communal spirit of Bangabandhu.

He said that Puja has been organized at 30,213 puja mandapas across the country this year.