Temples and other places of worship in India remained shut for over three months due to the pandemic sparked by the novel coronavirus. The reopening of the temples gradually began in June but with a new set of rules for visiting. However, not all the temples have resumed operations owing to a spike in the COVID-19 cases in several states. Nonetheless, some of the major shrines have now reopened and have even made certain changes to accommodate more number of devotees per day. Read on to know more about the famous temples from north to south.
Char Dham temples
Located in the middle of the lofty yet spellbinding Himalayan ranges, the Char Dham that includes Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri, shall now see a surge in the number of devotees visiting each day. As per reports, around 3000 people can now visit Kedarnath and Badrinath sites, while as many as 900 and 700 devotees can visit the Gangotri and Yamunotri sites.
E-passes are compulsory for all the tourists, and the same will have to be obtained from the Uttarakhand Char Dham Devasthanam Management Board official website. (www.badrinath-kedarnath.gov.in). Pregnant women and people above the age of 65 or under 10 are advised against visiting the temple. Social distancing and hygiene protocols will have to be followed strictly to contain the spread of the disease. And the devotees will have to undergo thermal screening and (RT-PCR/ANTIGEN/TRUENAT/CBNAAT) test if a need arises.
The Vaishno Devi shrine located in the Trikuta mountain in Jammu and Kashmir reopened for devotees on August 16. The temple allowed around 500 visitors from outside the union territory and 1500 local devotees after reopening. But now, as per reports, 4500 locals and 500 outsiders can visit the temple for darshan. Devotees from outside the region will have to produce a COVID-19 negative certificate not older than 48 hours from an ICMR approved laboratory.
The Padmanabhaswamy temple that reopened in the last week of August will now remain shut for devotees until October 15 as twelve temple employees have tested positive for COVID-19. The temple management had laid new rules for visiting based on the hygiene protocols to contain the spread of coronavirus.
The Kamakhya Temple in Guwahati Assam, which is also a Shaktipeeth shrine, was about to open its doors for devotees from September 24. However, the temple management decided to defer the reopening to make necessary arrangements for darshan and incorporate all safety measures amid pandemic. The temple remains closed as of now.
The world-famous Tirupati Balaji temple’s doors are open to devotees for darshan. Those who are planning to visit the temple can get their bookings done through the official site of the shrine management.
Mumbai’s Siddhivinayak temple continues to remain closed for darshan since lockdown 1 was first announced. Devotees, can, however, take the online darshan and aarti of Lord Ganesha on the official website.
The Mahakaleshwar Temple in Ujjain opened its doors for devotees on September 29. The temple management has been asked to follow all the COVID-19 related hygiene and safety protocols. Devotees too will have to adhere to the guidelines, wear a mask and maintain social distancing.