Dhamma Giri, one of the largest Vipassana centres in the world, located in Igatpuri, has cancelled its courses for the rest of the year amid the coronavirus outbreak. The centre attracts thousands of international visitors annually.
The Dhamma Giri Vipassana Meditation Centre and the Vipassana Research Institute in Igatpuri, about 120 km from Mumbai, announced on its website that its courses starting from March 11 to January 3, 2021 stood canceled. The course calendar on their website stated that “due to coronavirus all courses are canceled”. The centre’s pagoda that has over 400 cells for individual meditation, hosts students from across the world.
The centre announced the cancellation of its courses following an order issued by the District Collector of Nashik on Monday. “We had appealed to take steps to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Since the centre attracts a lot of international visitors, we had made an appeal to them too. Sometimes, the person who may have contracted the virus may also not know that they have it since it has a gestation period of 14 days and it may not show in thermal imaging. If they come in contact with hundreds of others in a place like this the spread of the disease will be beyond our control. That is why we appealed to everyone, and especially places in Igatpuri that attract international visitors, to take these preventive measures,” said Suraj Mandhare, District Collector, Nashik.
While officials at Dhamma Giri could not be reached for comments on Tuesday, Shakti Kapoor, the public relations officer at the Global Vipassana Pagoda in Mumbai said the centre in Igatpuri had taken the decision following the district collector’s order. The courses for the rest of the year had been cancelled and bookings are usually made a year ahead for the meditation courses that have a very high demand.
Mandhare told The Indian Express that five samples of swab tests conducted on suspected cases in Nashik had been sent to the NIV in Pune but they had all tested negative.
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