Mangaluru Dasara was off to a colourful start, albeit on a low key, at the Kudroli Gokarnanatha Kshetra here this morning with former vice-chairperson of Karnataka NRI Forum Arathi Krishna inaugurating it.
Nava Durge idols were installed at the temple hall thereafter.
With COVID-19 pandemic still threatening people, temple’s main architect B. Janardhana Poojary wanted the fest to be celebrated with absolute precaution and slogan “Namma Dasara-Namma Surakshe.” Temple treasurer R. Padmaraj said maintaining social distance, wearing of masks and using sanitisers were mandatory for visiting devotees even as kids 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 was followed by performance of ‘Pili Vesha’ (tiger dance) by a few devotees as part of their fulfilling their vows.
Navaratri festivities also 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 Mahishamardini, Kollur Mookambika, Kamalashile Durga Parameshwari, Anegudde Vinayaka and other temples in Udupi district.
Devotees thronged temples in large numbers.