Lucknow: Amid sudden spike in active cases in Varanasi in the last two days, the Baba Kashi Vishwanath temple administration has banned entry of devotees in Garbha Griha (sanctum sanctorum) and discontinued distribution of ‘prasad’.
A decision to this effect was taken after a high-level meeting after the visit of the Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to review the situation arising out of the second surge of the coronavirus.
The temple CEO Sunil Varma said that after the imposition of night curfew from Thursday, the temple administration has also stopped sale of tickets for famous ‘mangla aarti’, which is performed at the wee hours. “Mangla aarti has been closed for the devotees,” he said.
“In view of sudden spurt in coronavirus cases, the temple administration has decided to close the garbha griha for devotees. They can now offer milk, water through a pipeline to Lord Shiva outside the temple,” said the CEO.
The CEO said that they have also discontinued distribution of ‘prasad’ and putting tika on the forehead. “We are making frequent appeals to devotees not to distribute prasad or put tika on the forehead to stay safe and check the spread of coronavirus,” he added.
No devotee is allowed in the temple complex without wearing a mask. They have been asked to organize ‘Rudrabhishek’ and ‘Yajnas’ by maintaining social distance. Circles have been marked in the temple complex for maintaining social distancing.
“We are not allowing any religious activities within the temple complex without strictly following the Covid-19 guidelines and protocol,” Varma claimed.
In the last 24 hours, a record 929 active cases with two deaths were reported from Varanasi, the parliamentary constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. About 17 doctors of the Banaras Hindu University were among those found positive in tests. They all were fully vaccinated.