Durga Puja, the biggest religious festival of the Bangalee Hindu community, begins on Monday with holding of Maha Shasthi puja across the country amid festivity and religious fervour in compliance with health guidelines due to COVID-19 pandemic.
The five-day-long Durga Puja is beginning by unveiling the face of the deity and Kalparambho on the day of Maha Sashthi on Monday and it will end on October 15 with the immersion of the idols.
The incarnation (Bodhan) of the Goddess Durga will be held on Sunday ahead of the puja on the day of Maha Panchami.
Maha Saptami puja will be performed on Tuesday, Maha Ashtami, Kumari Puja and Sandhi Puja on Wednesday and Maha Nabami Puja on Thursday.
Bangladesh Puja Udjapan Parishad leaders urged all devotees to properly maintain health guidelines and directives issued by the government in the wake of the global pandemic during the Durga Puja celebration.
In Dhaka city, the main Puja Mandaps are the Dhakeshwari National Temple, Ramkrishna Mission and Math, Kalabagan, Banani, Shakhari Bazar and Ramna Kali Mandir.
Durga Puja signifies the birth of Durga with the blessings of gods, as a collective energy, to fight the demon king Mahishasura.
Exquisitely crafted and decorated life-size clay idols of the Goddess Durga depicting her slaying the demon Mahishasura are set up at temples and Durga Puja pandals.
These idols are then worshiped for five days and immersed in the river on the fifth day. The puja is performed in temples, homes and in the public, featuring temporary stage decorations.
The celebrations also include other major deities of Hinduism such as goddess Lakshmi (goddess of wealth, prosperity), Saraswati (goddess of knowledge and music), Ganesha (god of good beginnings) and Kartikeya (god of war).
Durga Puja will be celebrated at 32,118 Puja Mandaps across the country this year while the puja will be arranged at 238 Puja Mandaps in the capital Dhaka, according to statement of Bangladesh Puja Udjapan Parishad.
Earlier at a meeting on security measures during celebration of Durga Puja, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said that law enforcement agencies will take tight security measures for ensuring peaceful celebration of the Durga Puja.
Special steps would be taken, including deployment of police forces along with members of Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), Ansar-VDP and community police to ensure peaceful celebration of Durga Puja festival, he said.
On Wednesday, the Ministry of Religious Affairs issued an urgent notice urging the members of Hindu community to maintain health guidelines during the celebration of Durga Puja from October 11 to 15 in view of the ongoing pandemic situation.
According to the notice, all priests and devotees must have to wear masks.
Hand washing system and hand sanitizer must be kept at the entrances of all the temples. Body temperature should be checked with a thermal scanner at the entrance, it added.
All will have to maintain social distancing during the immersion of idols on the day of Bijoy Dashami.