London: Durga Puja Celebrated Virtually

London: Durga Puja Celebrated Virtually

The annual Durga Puja festivities in London, which began last week, underscored the virtual reality element to meet the coronavirus pandemic lockdown guidelines against large gatherings this year.

Keeping in view of social distancing, many puja committees restricted the gathering to only their respective members. The puja proceedings were streamed live where public could participate from home.

The Ilford Puja was one of them where limited slots for Darshan with an upper limit of 10 people per slot were allowed to participate. A pre-registration process is also being put in place to ensure compliance with the National Health Service (NHS) Track & Trace requirements.

UK-based charitable organisation Bengal Heritage Foundation, behind one of the country's biggest Durga Puja celebrations known as London Sharad Utsav, said that provisions are underway for people to celebrate from the comfort of their homes "in both 2D and 3D".

While talks remain ongoing around a possible ticketed system for the physical aspect of the prayers, the charity is also making arrangements for several alternatives, a recent PTI report stated.

"No one will miss our Pujo. Anyone will be able to offer anjali or pray during 'Sandhi Pujo' from their home," said Suranjan Som, Vice-President of London Sharad Utsav.

"We are using cutting-edge Google VR technology to ensure London Sharad Utsav reaches every home and mobile device across the world. With a relatively inexpensive Google Cardboard VR headset, they will feel that they are sitting right in front of our idol, while our priest carries out the regular ceremonies," he said.

The theme of this year's London Sharad Utsav, planned for this weekend, is "A Ray of Hope" as a tribute to legendary Bengali filmmaker Satyajit Ray to mark his 100th birth centenary year, the PTI report added.

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