Thursday, 19 March 2020

Covid-19 threats and entry restrictions imposed by some popular Hindu temples across India - 01

.thehindu.com
US Prez. Trump called it  ''China'' or ''Wuhan'' virus..mapsofindia.com
Increasing Covid-19 cases  with each passing day globally, the Indian State governments  do not want  people to risk their precious lives and have intensified precautionary measures  in public places to prevent the spread of this new virus that  has become pandemic. 

Places of religious gathering, as we know,  such as temples, mosques and churches can be clusters for corona virus transmission in India. In this country  religious tourism is a big business, in particular, in the summer holiday season. So are  community gatherings for celebrating  numerous festivals in the ensuing summer season and later months. Social gatherings such as wedding celebrations, etc.,  are common  across this vast country and these crowded gatherings will speed up  this new virus that the American President  has aptly dubbed  as China Virus or Wuhan Virus.
Listed below are some of the places of Hindu worship  in India where there are  either several  entry restrictions in place or simply closed for the devotees.

01. Siddhivinayak temple, Mumbai, Maharashtra:
In the state of Maharashtra, which has registered the highest number of corona virus positive cases in India, authorities have taken serious precaution  and closed  some prominent tourist and religious spots.
Siddhi vinayak temple,Mumbai financialexpress.com/
Siddhi vinayak temple,Mumbai.hindustantimes.com/
Above image:  Dedicated to Lord Shri Ganesh, it is in Prabhadevi, Mumbai, Maharashtra.  It was on 19 November 1801 one Laxman Vithu and Deubai Patil  originally built  the temple which is now one of the richest temples in India. Childless  rich woman -  Deubai Patil took care of the construction cost and built it so that Ganesha should grant children to other infertile  women.  This  temple receives donations of about  ₹100 million (US$1.4 million) -₹150 million (US$2.1 million)  annually  which makes it Mumbai city's richest temple trust. This temple, way back in 2015 had a proposal to deposit some of its 160 kg of gold with banks when PM Sri  Modiji  had a plan to recycle tons of idle bullion in the lockers to reduce gold imports and country's current account deficit.  ..................... 
02. Ajantha and Ellora cave temples, Maharastra:

Ajantha, Ellora caves temples.visittnt.com/blog
Ajantha, Ellora caves temples..inditour.com
A UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the Aurangabad district of Maharashtra, India,  it is one of the largest rock-cut monastery-temple cave complexes in the world, featuring Jain, Buddhist and Hindu, monuments, and artwork, dating from the 600–1000 CE period.  Cave 16, in particular, has the largest single monolithic rock excavation in the world,  the Kailasha temple and  a chariot shaped monument dedicated to Lord Shiva. The Kailasha temple excavation also   has sculptures depicting deities in the Hindu pantheon   covering Vaishnavism, Shaktism as well as relief panels summarizing the two major Hindu Epics.
(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ellora_Caves)

Ajantha-Ellora caves, MH. en. Wikipedia.org.
These   cave temples  near Aurangabad city, the popular Siddhivinayak temple in Mumbai and the Tuljabhawani temple in Osmanabad district would remain closed in view of the corona virus situation in the State, officials said. 

In serious consideration of   growing cases of corona virus in India, the Siddhivinayak Temple in Mumbai where people in thousands visit daily  extra precautions to reduce the spread of  virus  are underway.   Chairman of the Shree Siddhivinayak Temple Trust Aadesh Bandekar, said that all devotees are being given hand sanitizer while entering the temple premises, ANI reported. Moreover, all the hand railings in the temple and the floors are being sanitized and cleaned frequently to reduce the spread of the virus, the report further quoted Bandekar as saying. (March 14, 2020).
https://www.hindustantimes.com/business/mumbai-s-siddhivinayak-temple-may-give-govt-s-gold-scheme-40kg-boost/story-V649fDZnO300OEz7tCpnGO.html
 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siddhivinayak_Temple,_Mumbai
 https://www.financialexpress.com/lifestyle/travel-tourism/coronavirus-outbreak-mumbais-siddhivinayak-temple-takes-preventive-measures-check-details/1897865/
 https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/coronavirus-siddhivinayak-temple-ajanta-ellora-caves-to-be-closed/article31086856.ece
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03. Sri Jagannath Temple, Puri, Odisha:
Puri Sri Jagannath Temple, Odisha. en wikepedia.org
Puri Sri Jagannath Temple, Odisha.religionworld.in

 In the case of Odisha state, Chhattisa Nijog, the premier servitors Priests)’ body of  the popular Sri Jagannath Temple,  recently  imposed restrictions on servitor activities and visiting devotees in view of the corona virus threat. Devotees will not be allowed to touch Garuda and Aruna pillars of the shrine. Further, they will not be allowed to  crowd the spots  that may promote transmission of the virus. This apart, to  gain entry into the temple, visiting devotees have to make a mandatory  self-declaration  about their health condition - cold and cough problems or  their visits to  places affected by the virus in the last 15 days.  Strict prohibition of congregation of devotees at Jagamohan and Laxmi temple. Darshan from ‘Bhitar Kath’ stopped till April 15.
The  DA imposed restrictions  on group dining at Anand Bazar, the Mahaprasad market in the temple complex. Movement of devotees and servitors/pundits  will also be regulated to ensure free spaces and prevent crowding.

The priests/pundits or  pujapandas (servitors who offer ‘bhog’ and perform rituals of the trinity) on ‘Ratnasimhasan’ in the  sanctum/garbagriha of Jagannath temple  are advised  to wear face masks while performing the services.
The Sun Temple at Konark, Odisha. .tripadvisor.in
As for the world famous  Sun Temple at Konark  (a 13th-century CE  structure) about 35 kilometres (22 mi) northeast from Puri on the coastline of Odisha  known for erotic sculptures, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has closed it for a fortnight.   No tourist buses and package tours to Chilika, Konark and Nandankanan  are allowed  by the district administration.  The temple was built by  king Narasinga Deva I of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty about 1250 CE. 
https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/odisha/2020/mar/16/coronavirus-impact-no-touching-garuda-stambha-in-puris-jagannath-temple-2117273.html
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 04. ISKCON temples, India:
Iscon temple, India amarujala.com
 ISKCON is  one of the popular Hindu religious organizations running temples across India and they are dedicated to Hindu God Sri Krishna and his consort Radha. These beautiful well-built temples with white marbles and local rock stones  are highly embellished that attract lots of natives and also of people from foreign lands. It is reported  that the administration  advised foreigners from the corona virus-affected countries not to visit for two months, as a precautionary measure.
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05. Palkulangara, Devi temple, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala state:
Palkulangara Sree Bhagavathy Temple, kerala. .tripadvisor.in
The Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB), Kerala that manages about 1,200 temples, owing to corona virus threats in Kerala, advised the authorities to  observe the  protocol set by the government. The board  advised the people in each locale through the temple advisory committees  to  cancel  all cultural programs and mass feasts  to be held as part of  festivals till normalcy returns.

Palkulangara, Devi temple, Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala state)  is just 1 km from Pettah Junction and  is about 1.5 kilometres to the west of Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple in that city. Run by the Sree Palkulangara Devi Temple Trust,  it  is a good example of Kerala Vasthu Vidya and one of the most ancient temples in Kerala that is famous for several Hindu temple festivals.

Palkulangara Sree Bhagavathy Temple and others will follow the govt.  health restrictions in view of prevailing serious threats from covid-19.  Part of the reason is lots of foreign tourists visit this Gods' own country that is bestowed with amazing nature's bounty.   Provisions regarding sanitizing facilities  are made available  for the devotees reaching the temple.  Owing to  Covid-19 scare,  not only have the temple festivals in the State assumed a  sort of drab  note, but also lost the glamor and gaiety associated with them.   Extra health  precautions over the virus took precedence over enthusiasm and deep devotion. 
https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/temple-festivals-shorn-of-glamour/article31102095.ece
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06. Sabarimala temple, Kerala:
Famous Sabarimala temple, Kerala.business-standard.com
Famous Sabarimala temple, Kerala. .business-standard.com
In the wake of  about 12 people being diagnosed with corona virus in Kerala, the Travancore Devasom Board (TDB) in the first week of March 2020 advised the devotees  not to visit the  most popular Hindu temple in Kerala - Sabarimala temple when it opens for its monthly puja  scheduled in the month of March. However, all the religious activities that have to take place in the temple will go ahead as scheduled, but there will be no public participation in the festivities. The temple will not  distribute appam and payesem (dishes made as religious offerings) to devotees as the counters will remain closed.
https://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/sabarimala-temple-to-open-this-evening-119111600335_1.html
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07. Maa Kamakhya temple, Assam: 
Maa Kamakhya temple. .indiatoday.in/
The popular temple of Maa Kamakhya or Kameshwari,  one of the 51 Shakti Peeths across the country,  attracts a large number of devotees every day. As  a preventive measure against the spread of novel coronavirus in Assam, the Kamakhya Temple -- a Tantrik Shaktipeeth  in Guwahati has started providing visitors with hand sanitiser and decided to temporarily stop the daily 'bhog' (food offering).  Floors and hand railings in the temple premises were being washed and disinfected frequently.   Help desks have also been set up for the convenience of foreign tourists, temple administration officials said.
March 17, 2020.
https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/coronavirus-scare-kamakhya-temple-suspends-daily-bhog-offers-sanitisers-devotees-1656220-2020-03-17
https://www.mapsofindia.com/my-india/health/novel-2019-ncov-prevention-of-coronavirus-and-safety-measures-for-the-public