Kolkata: Bengalis settled in various countries are taking online lessons to perform Durga Puja rituals themselves as the COVID-19 outbreak has forced priests from West Bengal to cancel their international travel plans.

Several priests from the state used to make annual journeys to countries from the United States to Japan to perform Durga Puja rituals for Bengalis settled there. However, the coronavirus outbreak has changed the situation.

On being requested by several Bengalis settled abroad, an organisation, Sarva Bharatiya Prachya Vidya Academy, has decided to conduct online training sessions for Brahmins on September 27 and October 4, its founder Jayanta Kushari said on Wednesday.

They will be trained to perform ‘yagna’, ‘ghot puja’ (worshipping an urn symbolising the goddess) and other rituals of Durga Puja, he said.

“The COVID-19 outbreak has restricted our movement but Durga Puja cannot wait. After being requested by friends in India and abroad, we decided to conduct digital workshops where all puja rituals will be taught,” Kushari told PTI.

The workshops will be held at a time convenient for all participants across different time zones, he said.

The organisation has been conducting workshops for people willing to work as priests apart from their regular jobs.

It had last month conducted a similar online session for 175 people in front of the semi-finished Durga idol at Shobhabazar Rajbari in north Kolkata.

“More people can attend online sessions than in physical workshops in the present scenario. This might be the norm even in post-COVID times,” Kushari said.

Kolkata-based priest Srikanto Chakraborty said he is looking for offers from puja committees across the state after his regular London-based client informed him they are not organising Durga Puja this year. PTI SUS ACD ACD

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

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