Hyderabad: Covid-19 Scares Dasara Spirit

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Hyderabad: The usual festive buzz that comes with the Dasara Navaratri every year went missing in the city on Saturday due to the Covid-19 scare.

From shopping for the festival to thronging temples, the usual scenes were missing with most citizens preferring to celebrate the festivities on a low key given the pandemic situation. Though the shopping scene was better compared to the last couple of weeks at malls and regular markets such as Sultan Bazaar, Ameerpet and Dilsukhnagar, the kind of shopping that usually happens on Navami day was not there.

The fruit and flower markets that come up at residential clusters and also along main roads did business but many rued that it was not like earlier years. “Even we got lesser supply to sell due to the situation,” said a flower vendor at Koti. At temples, the long queues of vehicles for puja on Ayudha Puja day were also not to be seen with most owners performing the puja at their residences. A priest at a temple in Gachibowli said: “Some may come tomorrow for puja for their vehicles.” Many plan buying a new vehicle during the Navaratri and get the puja performed on the Navami day.

Sri Peddamma Temple in Jubilee Hills, Sri Yellamma Temple in Balkampet, Sri Ujjaini Mahankali Temple in Secunderabad and Sri Simhavahini Mahankali Temple at Lal Darwaza in the old city among other temples are famous for conducting puja of vehicles during Dasara. Broken pieces of pumpkin, lemon and coconuts used for the puja used to be a common sight at temples during the festival. But this time, the usual euphoria was missing.

Secunderabad Mahankali Temple Executive Officer G Manohar said vehicle owners did not turn up in large numbers because of the pandemic.

However, a large number of devotees were arriving to have darshan of the Goddess. “We are strictly adhering to Covid-19 norms while allowing devotees. We are allowing only those who are wearing masks,” he said.

It was not only at the temples but also at depots of the TSRTC and workshops of the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation and Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board where the usual festival atmosphere was missing. Shopping for apparel for the festival was also impacted due to the coronavirus scare.

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