The famed Mangaluru Dasara was off to a colourful start, albeit on a low key, at the Kudroli Gokarnanatha Temple here this morning with former vice-chairperson of the Karnataka NRI Forum Arathi Krishna inaugurating the same.
The first day’s programmes started with Guru Prarthane and other rituals at the temple while Ms. Krishna inaugurated the festivities by lighting the lamp at noon. Nava Durge idols were installed at the temple hall thereafter.
With the COVID-19 pandemic still looming large, the temple’s main architect B. Janardhana Poojari wanted the festivities to be celebrated with absolute precaution,
Temple treasurer R. Padmaraj has said maintaining social distance, wearing masks, and using sanitisers were mandatory for devotees even as children below six years were not allowed inside the premises.
Barricades were erected across the temple premises to ensure devotees move in queues and maintain social distance.
The inauguration of Mangaluru Dasara at Kudroli was followed by performance of traditional Pili Vesha (tiger dance) by a few devotees. The district administration permitted the performance by not more than 10 persons strictly inside the premises of temples .
Meanwhile, Navaratri festivities began in all temples across Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts on Saturday, including Mangaladevi, Kadri Manjunatha, Mariyamma, Marigudi, and others in Mangaluru; Kateel Durga Parameshwari, Dharmasthala Manjunatha, Kukke Subrahmanya, Polali Rajarajeshwari, and others in Dakshina Kannada; Sri Krishna Mutt, Ambalapadi Mahakali, Kadiyali Mahisha Mardini, Kollur Mookambika, Kamalashile Durga Parameshwari, Anegudde Vinayaka. and other temples in Udupi district.
While temple managements have kept the celebrations as low-key affairs, devotees thronged temples in large numbers on the first day of Navaratri.
Officials of Gokarnanatha Temple, which will organise cultural programmes every evening from 6 p.m., has said no audience would be permitted inside the hall. Instead the programme will be beamed on large screens on the temple premises as well as live on Namma Kudla cable channel.
Many other temples too have been holding cultural programmes in open spaces, including the Dharmasthala temple where the programmes will be held in front of the temple.