Lockdown disrupts Ugadi festival in Bengaluru


Bengaluru, Mar 25 (IANS): Coronavirus lockdown disrupted usual pomp and gaiety of the Ugadi festival in India's tech city, with streets and markets deserted on Wednesday.

"There is no Ugadi for us this year. Many pooja (ritual) items are not available, everything is shut," told autorickshaw driver Manjunath from Gunjur, a Bengaluru suburb by Sarjapura Road.

Ugadi is the first day of the Hindu lunar year which usually falls in March or April, unlike the Gregorian calendar which starts on January 1.

The festival is fervently observed in Karnataka and the two Telugu states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

Following Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 21-day lockdown announcement on Tuesday night, most people are staying indoors.

But a few thresholds, main gates and door posts of some residences in Kodathi, Mullur and Gunjur, Bengaluru outskirts by Sarjapura Road, have been adorned with flowers and leaves to signify the auspicious nature of the Ugadi day.

There is no traffic on the roads, except a vehicle here and there, mostly people coming to buy essentials such as food, vegetables and fruits.

Except shops selling the essentials, all other stores are shut, including bakeries.

Santha, a flower vendor, travelled about 10 km from Sarjapura to Kodathi centre to sell flowers, hoping to cash in on the festival buying rush.

"I have come here after two weeks. Time is nearing 12 p.m. already, there are no buyers, everybody is inside their home. I am yet to sell my flowers," she told IANS sitting with her bag of unsold flowers.

Another vendor at the same Kodathi traffic intersection is selling betel leaves, flowers and other pooja items stealthily, worried if police may come and shut his makeshift kiosk.

Meanwhile, water tankers are making brisk business, with multiple tankers plying on the roads to replenish water for the home-bound buyers.

Earlier, Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa greeted Ugadi wishes to all the state people on Twitter in Kannada, requesting everybody to stay at home.

"Happy New Year to all. Celebrate Ugadi at home to prevent the spread of infection," tweeted Yediyurappa.

--IANS

sth/skp/

  

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