In Times Of Corona, Navratri Season Sans Fanfare, Jagrata

LUCKNOW || India for the next nine days will bask in the glory of Ma Durga as Navratri kickstarts amidst a global Coronavirus scare. As the city has entered its official 21-day lockdown phase, Shakti Upasana this season has been a tough call.

The staunch followers of Ma Bhagwati like Renu Kashyap who hails from New Hyderabad in Lucknow have found it hard to buy basic essentials for the puja and next nine days the temples and Devalayas will be out of bounds for faithful like her, unlike old times.

Many owing to the Janata curfew have been homebound. Those who stepped out had to face the scrutiny of the curious police.

Even though there is a sense of gloom, the spirits locals like Nirmala, a houseworker says is not dampened as this time the full glory of the goddess will be celebrated at home. In Uttar Pradesh, there are calls for divine intervention in Navratri given that there have been rumours aplenty in the times of Corona.

In Aligarh, Agra, Meerut and Muzaffarnagar, people have not slept for days as they believe in rumours of them turning into stone. People would rather chat whole night outside homes. People have made palm prints of turmeric outside their houses to ward off the corona evil. Some were also advised to light up multiple diyas at Devi temples.

Shops across UP have remained shut including that in Lucknow. People had to make do with whatever little that they got because shops were not well stocked or they had to take extra pains to get their desired things.

UP CM Yogi Adityanath, a saffron-clad monk himself has urged people to stay put at their homes. Many see this pandemic as a golden opportunity to invoke godly spirits with greater zeal. Each house has seen a special Kalash Sthapna exercise unlike before.

People this time in large numbers will make a universal appeal to Ma to slay the virus-like she did evil.

People in the last few days before the Janata curfew had been lining up to buy chunri, coconut, incense sticks, Diyas, ghee, photos of Ma Durga, Kalash, Dhakni, Shringar ornaments, Kuttu Ka aata, jaggery, peanuts, Makhana and Sendha Namak

As per the Hindu calendar, the New Year starts from the Chaitra Shukla Pratipada. Chaitra is officially the first month in the Hindu calendar. This Chaitra month Ma Durga will be sailing on a boat to Earth and leave riding an elephant. The elephant is a good omen because it symbolizes good rains bringing cheer to the farmer.

This time a community Jagrata will not be possible as social distancing is playing on everyone’s mind.

–Arijit Bose/Lucknow

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