Kohima: With COVID-19 restrictions in force which allows a maximum of 50 per cent capacity at Durga Puja marquees, Dussehra celebrations in Nagaland were being observed in a low-key manner this time.
Even though the festival is being observed across the state, including at one of the oldest temples in state capital Kohima, the Dussehra celebrations were marked in a modest way.
“Earlier, the celebrations were marked in a grand manner. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the SOPs in place, we are conducting the Dussehra celebrations in a small and safe manner,” said Anup Rana, Joint Secretary of the Gorkha Singhadevi Mandir Committee in Kohima.
Rana said that to conduct the 10-day Dussehra celebration, about 20 youths from the community were trained to conduct sanitizing and screening of devotees at entry points. “The number of devotees has dropped. Senior citizens and children are not visiting due to COVID-19 restrictions,” he said.
Rana also said the idol of the goddess at the temple will not be immersed as it is a permanent temple but rather the doors will be closed till the next Dussehra. He said over the years, eco-friendly ways of observing the celebration has been advocated where devotees were encouraged to use banana-leave baskets to give their offerings instead of using plastic.
Governor of Nagaland and Assam Jagdish Mukhi shared his greetings to the people of Nagaland. “The festival celebrates the victory of Lord Rama over Ravana. It also celebrates the triumph of Goddess Durga over demon Mahishasura. This beautiful festival is a celebration of victory of truth over falsehood, triumph of the righteous and defeat of evil. Let us, for our safety, celebrate the festival observing all the COVID-19 protocols,” he said
He hoped that the occasion of Dussehra would inspire the people to follow the path of virtue and towards oneness, amity, happiness and prosperity.
Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio took to Twitter to extend his greetings as he wrote: “#DurgaPuja #Dussehra greetings to all those who are celebrating. May the auspicious occasion foster brotherhood and bring blessed beginnings in everyone’s lives”.
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