BOLTON residents in the Hindu community have been celebrating the Navratri festival together in a unique style in the form of online shows in the past week.

The Bolton Hindu Forum has adapted to the coronavirus rules by screening festival performances on YouTube and its Facebook page every evening at 7pm since the start of the festival on Saturday, October 17 – and each show has attracted thousands of views.

Two groups of actors from Indian cities Mumbai and Ahmedabad have been performing in the three-hour shows on alternate evenings.

As well as the large online audience, there have been more than 100 people logged in through the online app Zoom for every show, in which users have expressed their enjoyment and togetherness through dance and Aarti worship.

And this afternoon, Sunday, at 4pm, youngsters from the Indradhanush Kids in London will be acting out the story associated with Navratri, a battle between Goddess Durga and the demon Mahishasura.

The hour-long performance, which marks the last date of the nine-day festival, will be screened exclusively live on the forum's Facebook page.

The Bolton News:

Zoom users during one of the performances screened by Bolton Hindu Forum

Bolton Hindu Forum trustee Mamit Agarwal said: "Naturally we usually perform the shows live but because of the pandemic we cannot do that this year.

"Instead we have moved the experience online. We have made quite a lot of props such as clouds and mountains to make the shows more realistic.

"We are doing this to keep the spirits high with everyone in the community.

"We are one of only four or five Hindu organisations in the country that are doing it and we are getting lots of people watching the shows.

"There have been 12,000 views of some of the shows on YouTube and on Facebook there have been 5,000 to 6,000 views.

"Between 120 to 190 people have been logged on through Zoom and they have dancing during the shows which other people watching can see, it is interactive.

"We are getting a very good response."

The Bolton News:

A poster for Sunday afternoon's show

The health crisis has led to vulnerable residents staying indoors and the shows that the forum have hosted have helped to keep them connected with others.

Mamit added: "Some elderly people have been isolating and they have been socially vulnerable so for them the shows have been a good thing."