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Sombre Gudi Padwa celebration in Maha amid COVID-19 pandemic

Press Trust of India  |  Mumbai 

Maharashtra on Wednesday

witnessed a subdued celebration of Gudi Padwa, which marks the beginning of New Year in the state, as people stayed indoors in view of the national lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi posted a tweet in Marathi to greet people of Maharashtra for the festival.

"People of Maharashtra are celebrating Gudhi Padwa. I wish them success, happiness and good health. May all their wishes be fulfilled this year," he tweeted.

Gudi Padwa is the first day of the month of Chaitra and marks the beginning of the New Year as per the Hindu calendar.

People hoisted the traditional 'gudi' - made of a bright cloth adorned with brocade (zari) tied to the tip of a long bamboo stick and a silver or copper pot placed in the inverted position over it - in their balconies and windows.

But, they could not garland the gudi with flowers, mango and neem leaves as flower shops were shut and markets wore a deserted look.

People were also not able to put up the traditional 'toran', a garland of marigold flowers, on their house doors.

They also gave a miss to the other traditional ritual of tasting sour 'neem chutney', as markets were closed.

The Gudi Padwa processions were also cancelled.

Police maintained a tight bandobast to prevent people from crowding the markets.

A medical store owner in Vile Parle area said five of his 27 staff members live nearby, but the police did not allow them to reach the shop.

"I have given them passes with stamp of the medical shop which says emergency service. But, the police are not even seeing the passes and forcing them to go away. My staff cannot cross the highway. I am going to the police station now," he said.

Despite the lockdown, many people were seen going for morning walk while wearing face masks.

Maharashtra Governor B S Koshyari appealed to people to welcome the New Year while staying at home in view of the unprecedented situation prevailing in the state and the country.

He said the success of the government's efforts depends on complete cooperation of people.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, March 25 2020. 10:34 IST