Dasara was celebrated across Telangana and Andhra Pradesh on Sunday with devotion but on a subdued note due to COVID-19 pandemic.

The usual festive buzz was missing in both the Telugu states. Wearing masks and maintaining social distance, people visited temples to offer prayers to Goddess Durga on the occasion of Vijayadashami.

Clad in their festive best, people thronged temples, from the crack of dawn, to worship the Goddess. Temples were decked up with lights and flowers and special pujas conducted as part of celebrations.

Special puja was performed at Kanaka Durga temple in Vijayawada. Devotees queued up at the famous temple at Indira Kiladri for darshan.

Union Minister of State for Home, G. Kishan Reddy worshipped at Kanaka Durga temple. The BJP leader, who was in Vijayawada to inaugurate the state BJP office, said he prayed for people’s protection from coronavirus.

Bhadrakali temple in Warangal, Peddamma temple at Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad and Yellamma temple at Balkampet also saw major congregations.

However, both the states saw low-key celebrations due to the pandemic. The usual hustle bustle associated with the shopping and celebrations of Dussehra was clearly missing.

Only few vehicles were seen at temples for the traditional Ayudha puja as most people preferred to perform the puja at home.

Traders said the sale of flowers and fruits saw a big drop compared to the previous years. Many devotees preferred virtual darshan from comforts of their home to avoid the crowd at temples.

Telangana Governor Dr Tamilisai Soundararajan, Andhra Pradesh Governor Biswa Bhusan Harichandan, Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao and his Andhra Pradesh counterpart Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy greeted the people on the occasion of Vijaya Dasami.

“The Navaratri festival renews us with the spirit of joy and jubilation. The main message of the festival is triumph of good over evil has an everlasting relevance,” Soundararajan said in her message.

“Truth alone triumphs is our national credo and while celebrating the festival, we have to collectively endeavour to fight all the evils including disease spreading viruses, environmental hazards and to create greener and healthy neighbourhoods,” she added.

She hoped the country would soon overcome COVID-19 pandemic situation with the divine blessings of Goddess Durga.

Harichandan noted that Navaratri festival symbolizes supremacy of Dharma, that is triumph of good over evil.

The Andhra governor prayed that the Divide Mother shower her choicest blessings on everyone. He appealed to people to celebrate the festival by strictly observing WMD – wash, mask and distance. “Wash hands regularly, compulsorily wear a mask in public and maintain six feet distance,” he advised people.

Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao conveyed his greetings to the people of Telangana on the occasion of Vijayadashami. The CM said that Vijayadashami is celebrated to remember Lord Rama’s victory over Ravana, the triumph of good over evil. The CM prayed that the Goddess bless the people of Telangana to lead a happy and prosperous life always and overcome the corona pandemic. He urged the people to follow COVID-19 protocol strictly and celebrate the festival.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy also greeted the people. He prayed for the happiness and prosperity of all.

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