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Amidst COVID-19 restrictions, Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations begin today. For the second consecutive year, the 10-day long Ganesh Chaturthi festival began in a low-key manner on Friday in Maharashtra and other parts of India owing to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The usually large-scale celebrations took a back seat amid COVID-19 restrictions and protocols.
Maharashtra which is among the worst COVID-19 affected states in the country has imposed several restrictions to avoid festival-related gatherings and processions over the next ten days. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has announced fresh COVID-19 restrictions for the celebrations which began on Friday.
The darshan of Lord Ganesh at community pandals has been banned across the state.
Only online 'darshan' and live telecasts from pandals have been allowed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Additionally, not more than ten people (who have to be fully vaccinated) will be allowed to bring in the idols at pandals.
For home, a maximum number of five people will be allowed to bring in the idols to the respective homes.
Idols installed at pandals cannot be more than 4 feet high and those installed at home can be a maximum of two feet high.
The administration has put restrictions during immersion of the idols as well.
Police have imposed Section 144 in Mumbai, where Ganesh Chaturthi will be celebrated from September 10 to 19.
Public celebrations of Ganesh Utsav have been curbed in view of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and fear of the third wave.
As per official orders, no processions of Ganpati will be allowed and more than five persons cannot gather at a place.
Devotees in the city will have to take the darshan of Lord Ganesha online and they cannot visit mandaps across the city.
This year all Ganesh mandals will do the immersion at their pandals, Joint Commissioner of Police Ravindra Shisve said on Thursday.
As per official orders, people can use 'mobile visarjan' or immersion vans for the immersion of the Ganesh idols.
The state government has decided not to allow Ganesh pandals and immersion processions this year due to COVID-19.
Chief Minister MK Stalin has urged all the people to celebrate festivals from their homes and avoid gatherings.
The ban on festivals, religious and political gatherings will persist till October 31, as per the state government.
CM Stalin asked people to stay safe during this festive period and avoid crowded places while following all the COVID-19 restrictions.
Telangana High Court directed the state government to not allow idols of Lord Ganesh, made from plaster of Paris, to be immersed in Hussainsagar lake in Hyderabad.
The court has also asked the state government to construct special rubber dams for the immersion of eco-friendly idols.
After the order came, the markets in Hyderabad witnessed an increased demand for eco-friendly Ganesh idols.
The state government last week released the guidelines for Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations.
The government has allowed the celebrations only in districts where the COVID-19 positivity rate is less than 2%.
Only eco-friendly Ganapati idols are allowed to be installed in the state, as per the state government orders.
Not more than four feet tall Ganesha idol can be installed anywhere in the state.
Not more than 2 feet tall Ganesha idol allowed to be installed inside homes across Karnataka.
No processions are allowed. Immersion is only allowed in mobile immersion tanks or tubs.
The state government has advised the citizens to celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi at home only, and not install idols in public places.
All COVID-19 protocols should be followed during the Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations, the government order said.