Pune: Fearing the Covid-19 outbreak and rising number of cases, Punekar preferred to take online darshan of Ganpati Bappa this year during the 10 day festival of Ganeshotsav. But on Sunday, being the last holiday during the festival, it was seen that some citizens stepped out of their homes and took to the streets to pay obeisance to the Ganpatis of prestigious mandals in the city.
The civic and district administration along with Pune city police department had appealed to citizens to not to rush and visit the Ganesh mandals during the Ganeshotsav. These restrictions were imposed to avoid unnecessary crowding and curb the spread of corona infection.
Punekar initially responded to these appeals but as the Ganeshotsav draws to a close, the crowds are growing. Several Punekars stepped out for darshan from early morning on Sunday. The occasional downpour was reducing the crowds on the roads. But when it stopped raining, people were returning to the streets. In the evening, when the crowds increased, Punekars were seen desperately trying to not get close to others while walking and taking darshan at the mandals.
After taking the darshan of the first prestigious Ganpati Mandal, the Shri Kasba Ganapati, the crowds headed towards Shrimant Dagdusheth Halwai Ganpati Mandal through Chatrapati Shivaji Road. This year, the traffic police have allowed the vehicular traffic on this road during Ganeshotsav. But at the same time, there is a separate queue for devotees coming for Ganpati’s darshan. It was also observed that pedestrians had to walk on the footpaths in front of the temple due to barricading and would not come on the road, which was a welcome change this year. So the vehicular traffic was also not obstructed due to pedestrians and crowding on road.
SOCIAL DISTANCING FLOUTED
The youth were visiting Akhil Mandai Ganpati Mandal after visiting the prestigious second Ganpati Mandal of Tambdi Jogeshwari, third prestigious Ganpati Mandal of Guruji Talim and fourth prestigious Ganpati mandal of Tulshibaug Ganpati for darshan.
It was impossible to follow the rules of social distancing. After the Ganpati Aarti started, it was seen in front of Tambadi Jogeshwari Mandal that hundreds of devotees were standing in one place in proximity. Young people, family members and devotees were seen taking selfies on the streets in the peth areas of the city.