Maha shrines reopen after 8 months

Maha shrines reopen after 8 months

Mumbai: With prayers on their lips and devotion in hearts, people in Maharashtra visited places of religious worship which reopened on Monday after remaining shut for nearly eight months due to the Coronavirus-induced lockdown, marking further easing of restrictions in the state.

The state government has put in place strict COVID-19 protocols for devotees to ensure there was no spread in the infection when temple and other places of worship are thrown open for members of the general public.

Wearing of face masks and maintaining social distancing at shrines have been made mandatory.

Places of religious worship were shut nationwide in late March due to the Coronavirus outbreak and the subsequent lockdown.

Devotees were seen visiting the famous Siddhivinayak temple and the Haji Ali Dargah in Mumbai, and some other prominent religious places in the state.

The reopening of the places of worship coincided with Diwali 'Padwa' (Marathi New Year), an important festival in the state, and 'bhai dooj' which were celebrated on Monday.

Early in the morning, devotees were seen visiting Lord Vitthal's temple at Pandharpur in Solapur district, Saibaba's shrine in Shirdi, Goddess Tulja Bhavani's temple in Osmanabad and the Siddhivinayak temple and the Haji Ali Dargah in Mumbai.

The renowned Grishneshwar Temple at Ellora in Maharashtra's Aurangabad district also saw a stream of devotees.

The Grishneshwar temple trust's chairperson, Shashank Topre, said all COVID-19 norms, including social distancing and wearing of masks, were being followed strictly and devotees not adhering to them were being turned back.

The Siddhivinayak Temple Trust's chairman, Aadesh Bandekar, on Sunday said only 1,000 devotees will be allowed inside the temple every day in staggered time slots to be booked through a mobile phone application.

Talking to the news agency over the phone on Monday, Bandekar said, "We have received good response today...we are letting in 100 people per hour (to ensure physical distancing). Body temperatures and QR codes of devotees are being checked."

"The temples access barrier is being opened only if a devotee is wearing mask. A proper system is being followed, he said.

The temple trust will review the situation after two days and may allow more devotees to have darshan of Lord Ganesh based on the assessment, Bandekar said.

Next Story
Share it