Temples, which are a symbol of faith for lakhs of devotees, have not been closed in Gujarat, stated an official release from the Gujarat government on Wednesday. Considering the possibility of a multitude of devotees visiting temples in the state during the upcoming festival of Navratri and to check the spread of coronavirus, the Gujarat government has instructed relevant temple trusts to take sufficient precautions, it added. It also said that the Gujarat government has not closed a single temple.
The government release was issued following the weekly state Cabinet meeting, on Wednesday, even as the authorities of Kalika Mata hill temple in Pavagadh of Halol in Panchmahals district, Tuesday, declared to keep the temple closed for public for 17 days between October 16 and November 1, in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Quoting Minister of State for Home Pradeepsinh Jadeja, the release said, “The religious places, temples, which are the symbol of faith for lakhs of devotees, have not been closed for the devotees. To check spread of coronavirus, a proper precautionary mechanism has been set up in coordination with trustees (of temples) for maintaining social distance…In the difficult times… since unlock-I (June 2020), all temples have been opened for devotees as per the guidelines…The government has not closed darshan at any temple in the state.”
“Taking into account the possibility of lakhs of devotees coming for darshan at some places (temples) during Navratri, instructions have been given to (temple) trusts to take sufficient precautions. Precautionary steps will be taken in coordination with (temple) trusts to ensure that the infection does not increase,” the release added.
The release also quoted Jadeja as having said that in the current situation, concerned temple trusts have taken decisions as per local circumstances. He added that as per religious traditions, aarati, pujan and yagna will be continued as normal.
To ensure that less people enter the way towards the temple and social distance is maintained, the facility of LED screens will be put up for darshan of the deity by devotees on the way towards the temple, it said. The release also stated that the concerned (temple) trust will take decision as per the local situation during Navratri.
As per the release, Jadeja also said that to check spread of coronavirus among devotees, a decision has been taken to give prasad in a closed packet. He also appealed devotees to maintain self-awareness and adhere to rules such as social distancing to avoid contraction of the viral infection.
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