Kolkata, Sep 5 (PTI) The authorities of Belur Math - global headquarters of Ramakrishna Math and Mission - will live stream the centuries-old Kumari Puja tradition this year due to COVID-19 pandemic.
No visitor will be allowed entry during Kumari Puja ritual, which usually attracts thousands of devotees in the compound.
The Belur Math authorities had one month back barred entry of visitors to the math complex after opening it in mid-June with several COVID-19 cases reported among the monks and other staff.
A spokesman told PTI on Saturday that the authorities are yet to decide whether entry of public will altogether be banned throughout the four puja days and the image and rituals will also be similarly streamed and telecast on channels to enable devotees to have virtual darshan.
'We will certainly hold Kumari puja, a must ritual followed for 121 years, but we cannot risk COVID-19 infection even if a small gathering is allowed. The kumari puja will be held in the presence of a handful of senior monks and the parents of the girl child who will be worshipped as Maa Durga,' the spokesman said.
He said the child, selected after several processes, and her parents will undergo Covid tests and must follow all safety protocols.
As part of the Kumari puja rituals, a little girl, less than eight years of age, is selected by the monks after the consent of her family is taken and worshipped on the day of Mahastami, the second day of the puja.
The Kumari puja, a popular affair, is watched by thousands of devotees as the proceedings take place in a pandal next to the main temple complex.
However, due to the present pandemic situation, the puja will be organized inside the main temple complex, the spokesman said.
'We are yet to decide whether entry of visitors will be altogether prevented on the puja days and other rituals will also be streamed similarly like the Kumari puja.
Everything will depend on the pandemic situation at that time.
But kumari puja will be a strictly closed-door affair,' he said. PTI SUS RG RG