In a first, the Kalika Mata hill temple in Pavagadh in Halol of Panchmahals will remain closed for public for 17 days during the Navratri festival, from October 16 to November 1, in view of the Covid pandemic. The decision was taken by the temple trust after consulting local administration.
The administration and the management of the temple trust decided to close the temple as it was not possible to “keep crowds at bay” or follow social distancing as large number of devotees may arrive during the Navratri festival.
Over 50,000 devotees have been visiting the temple daily, undeterred by the pandemic, since June, when the temple was reopened after easing of the lockdown curbs, members of the temple trust said. The reconstruction work of the 15th century temple is going on. Last month, a part of the old structure that is being demolished to make way for the new construction had collapsed. But no casualties were reported although there was a steady queue of devotees at the temple.
Trustees added that they will set up an LCD screen at the base of the hill, on which the temple is located, for the devotees to have a live view from the sanctum sanctorum. Police teams will be deployed to ensure that a heavy crowd does not violate the Covid-19 guidelines.
Meanwhile, Ambaji temple will remain open during the Navratri festival as per the Covid-19 guidelines, members of the Arasuri Ambaji Mata Devasthan Trust said. The temple will remain open in three slots — morning, afternoon and evening. The devotees entering the temple will have to wear masks and sanitise their hands. Those aged below 10 and above 65 will not be given entry.
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