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Puja celebrations begin today; CM calls for COVID caution

Guwahati: Adjusting to the new normal, Sasthi rituals were performed today in the Durga Puja pandals with bel baran and placing of idols of the deities. Puja celebrations will start from Mahasaptami tomorrow and all COVID-related guidelines will be followed. Kamakhya shrine, the seat of Shakti worship, reopened its sanctum sanctorum for devotees on Wednesday on the condition that COVID rapid antigen test reports would be furnished. Today 751 devotees entered the temple’s garbhagriha maintaining adequate physical distance.

“The garbhagriha was opened on the day of Panchami considering the Durga Puja. We will review the situation after puja to decide our next course of action,” Mohit Chandra Sarma, bor doloi of the temple said. On Sasthi today six little girls were worshipped as part of the Kamakhya Temple’s tradition of Kumari worship. On all the nine days of Navaratri, Kumari Pujan is held in the temple and the number of girls goes up by one with each passing day till the ninth day of the festival.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has greeted all sections of people of the State on the occasion of Durga Puja, urging them to celebrate the occasion adhering to all safety protocol.

“Though the prevalence of infection of COVID-19 pandemic has come down a bit, the pestilence is still very much active in the absence of any antidote. So, till a vaccine is produced, all safety protocol like social distancing, wearing of masks, frequent hand washing and respiratory etiquette should be adequately followed by the puja organisers and devotees alike,” he added.

Meanwhile, other than strict COVID guidelines, the weather too might play a crucial role in puja celebrations tomorrow with the met department predicting moderate to very heavy rainfall at isolated places. As per the weather forecast, light to moderate rain or thundershower at most places with heavy to very heavy rainfall with extremely heavy falls might occur at isolated places on October 23 in Assam and Meghalaya. Thunderstorm or lightning is also predicted at isolated places.

Light to moderate rain and thundershower are predicted from October 24 to October 26 at isolated places.

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