Uttar Pradesh: Famous Ram Navami Mela in Ayodhya called off for second year in a row due to COVID-19 pandemic
Uttar Pradesh: Famous Ram Navami Mela in Ayodhya called off for second year in a row due to COVID-19 pandemic
PTI File Photo

Lucknow: Amid the coronavirus crisis in Uttar Pradesh, the Yogi Adityanath government has decided to call off the famous ‘Ram Navami Mela’ in Ayodhya on April 21 second year in a row to celebrate the birthday of Lord Rama.

Last year also, Ram Navami Mela and celebrations were cancelled due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic followed by the lockdown.

There are calls from seers and public outcry to call off Kumbh Mela also which may become a source of spreading coronavirus due to the huge congregation of people at Haridwar.

A decision to call off Ram Navami Mela was taken after hundreds of seers and devotees tested positive during the ongoing Kumbh Mela. Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Acharya Mahamandleshwar Swami Awadhesanand Giri Ji on Saturday requesting him symbolic Kumbh Mela after two Shahi Snans.

The Ayodhya District administration said that celebrations on Ram Navami will be a low-key affair and no religious congregation will be allowed in order to check further spread of coronavirus.

The District Magistrate Anuj Kumar Jha said that no one will be allowed to enter Ayodhya on Ram Navami without showing a negative RT PCR report which is not older than 48 hours. “If needed, we may seal the border a day before Ram Navami to stop the entry of people. No religious congregation in Ayodhya will be allowed on the day,” he said.

The DM said that only five devotees at a time will be allowed to enter any temple in Ayodhya, including the Ram Lala make-shift temple, to offer prayers. A night curfew has already been imposed in temple town Ayodhya from 8 pm to 7 am after the number of active cases crossed 1,000.

Ayodhya Seers have also appealed to Ram Bhakts to stay away from Ayodhya and celebrate Ram Navami at home in view of the second surge of coronavirus. “In view of the coronavirus epidemic, we request devotees to stay away from temples and celebrate Ram Navami at home,” appealed Mahant Premdas of the famous Hanumangarhi temple.

“We appeal to Ram Bhakts to cooperate with the state government and district administration in breaking the chain of coronavirus. It will be possible only when they stay at home instead of coming to Ayodhya to offer prayers,” urged Swami Rajkumar Das of Sri Ramvallabha Kunj.

The Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust has also appealed to Ram Bhakts to celebrate Ram Navami at home instead of risking their and others’ lives by coming to Ayodhya during the coronavirus pandemic.

Hundreds of thousand people visit Ayodhya each year to get a holy bath in the Saryu river and then offer prayers at the make-shift Ram Lala temple. Later, they participate in a huge ‘mela’ organized on the day at Saryu banks to celebrate the birthday of Lord Rama.

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