With the cloud of Covid-19 hovering, Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations in Odisha were dampened a little. In view of pandemic restrictions, people marked the festival in unique ways in different parts of the state.
In Patapol area of Cuttack city, Hindu and Muslim students celebrated Ganesh Puja together. They made two statues of the deity: one to be worshipped in a mandapa and the other in a temple. The statues too were made by the students of the two communities from Patapol who live in the same area and and study at school together.
Ariff Khan, student and artisan, said it took a month to make the idols. “We learnt the making process from a priest. At first we sketched and made miniature idols of the Lord. Finally, 10 of our friends combined efforts to make this,” he said.
Another student, Krishna, said, “Firstly we made the Lord’s images on cardboard and a notebook. Finally, we got success in making an earthen idol.”
In some schools, only 20 students are allowed to offer puja by following Covid norms.
People in Bakula Pathagara celebrated Ganesh Puja in a forest park of Bhubaneswar, and a tree took the form of the deity.
“The relationship between nature and human beings is going out of expression. We decided to worship trees as Lord Ganesh and offered plants as prasad,” said a member.
In the Silk City of Berhampur, sand artist Satya Moharana made an idol of Lord Ganesh with 11 different edible grains, such as dal, rice, mustard, wheat, clove etc. The height of the statue is 18 inches and width 14 inches. He also made eight other idols of Ganesh, ranging in height from 4 inches to 9 inches. He hopes to achieve a record.
“It took me 4 hours to make the idol of Ganesh with various grains,” he said.
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