Guwahati: Amid the COVID-19 pandemic Assam is gearing up to celebrate Viswakarma Puja, which marks the birth anniversary of Lord Vishwakarma. Celebrated every year on September 17, this day is a major celebration for artisans, craftsmen, labourers, factory workers as Lord Viswakarma is regarded as the Lord of creation, the divine architect and engineer.
The day is also known as Viswakarma Jayanti. The day is celebrated with a lot of zeal and fanfare. But unlike earlier years, the scenario is completely different this time. With the rise in the COVID-19 outbreak in Assam, the State has imposed certain restrictions and there will be several guidelines to be followed. Under the SOPs released by the district administrations and the police, not more than 15-20 people can be present at the Puja pandals at the same time. Masks to be worn at all times. Social distance to be maintained. Movement of people in large groups has been prohibited. Restrictions have also been imposed on the distribution of wet prasad in certain districts like Cachar.
As per the guidelines issued by the office of Keerthi Jalli, Deputy Commissioner and Chairperson, District Disaster Management Authority, Cachar, wearing of masks and maintaining physical distancing have been made mandatory. "Viswakarma Puja shall be celebrated with a maximum of 15 number of persons and congregation at any place will not be allowed," the order said.
The order also stated that people will not be allowed to roam about or gather on both the bridges (old and new) located at Sadarghat from Wednesday 9 pm till Friday at 6 am. Entry will be strictly restricted at these bridges for preventing gathering.
No decoration of pandals, lighting and roadside stalls will be permitted, the order stated.
However, pitri-tarpan is allowed on the banks of the river maintaining all COVID-19 protocols. Violation of this order will attract punitive action, the order warned.
According to reports, the florists in Assam have not made any profits this time. Usually, it is during Viswakarma Puja when they make a good earning. With celebrations muted, it has been extremely poor business for the florists as well as the idol makers.
However, keeping in mind the importance of this auspicious occasion, there are some organisations that are celebrating pujas online. The online pujas will be performed with images of deities instead of idols which is a good alternative to refrain from polluting river waters.
Vishwakarma Puja is celebrated in the states including Assam, Karnataka, West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, and Tripura. Devotees organise puja in their offices, factories, and industries to pay respect to the Lord. The puja starts with performing 'Aarti' in the early morning to invoke the craftsman God, seeking his benevolence to create and build better. People, on this day, worship electronic devices, tools and abstain from using them and take a day off to celebrate it. There is also a tradition of flying kites in various regions to celebrate the day.