LUCKNOW: After nearly 80 days, the temples, mosques, other places of worship opened their doors for devotees across Uttar Pradesh on Monday.
Taking the lead, UP CM Yogi Adityanath performed ‘Rudrabhishek’, a special puja of Lord Shiva at Gorakhnath temple on early Monday morning. Yogi Adityanath is also the head priest of the temple, one of the most revered shrines of eastern UP and Nepal.
CM Yogi performed Rudrabhishek amid the chanting of mantras by Acharya Ramanuj Tripathi who led a team of purohits to facilitate the puja on temple premises strictly adhering to the Central government guidelines and state’s advisory in connection with sanitization, social distancing, and other norms which are part of COVID-19 protocol.
Subsequently, the gates of the temple were thrown open for the people. However, the footfall remained quite low. With the easing of restriction, famous Gita Press also resumed operations after 80 days of sabbatical in Gorakhpur on Monday.
However, temples across the state were opened except the famous Kashi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi which would open on Tuesday. Meanwhile, preparations to open the temple for devotees were on. Moreover, UP CM Yogi Adtiyanath visited Kashi Vishwanath temple on Monday to take a stock of preparations before opening it for devotees on Tuesday.
Temples in Ayodhya, Mathura, and Prayagraj were opened in compliance with the health and COVID -19 protocol. Priests in almost all the temples were found with faces covered with masks, hands in gloves. The devotees were allowed entry one by one. Five devotees were not allowed at a time in any of the temples. Even more, the police patrolling around the religious places was also increased on Monday.
Moreover, the marking for social distancing was done in all the temples in advance. Devotees were being allowed entry only after passing through thermal scanning and sanitization. Devotees were not allowed to offer ‘prasad’ to the deity. Those who had come for darshan without masks were not allowed entry into the temple.
However, in the wake of the increasing tally of COVID-19 cases, the Agra District administration has deferred the opening of mosques, temples, and even the Taj Mahal for public.
Similarly, the presence of ‘namazis’ was witnessed in good numbers in the mosques where everyone was allowed entry only after were going through thermal scanning and santization. “We have taken all the precautions needed to ensure social distancing and in compliance with the state government’s advisory before opening the mosques for those who wanted to offer namaz,” said Khalid Rashid Firangimahali, the chief cleric of Lucknow Eidgah.