SURENDRANAGAR (GUJARAT): Gujarat's Tarnetar fair, which attracts a large number of tourists from across India and abroad, will not be held for the second year in a row this year due to the coronavirus situation, a senior official said on Saturday.
The annual fair at the Trinetreshwar Mahadev temple in Tarnetar village is held annually for three days in August-September. "But it has been cancelled this year as well due to the prevailing pandemic situation and the Gujarat government's latest COVID-19 notification that prohibits gathering of more than 400 people in a public programme," Surendranagar district collector AK Aurangabadkar said.
The state notification allows all temples to remain open for prayers and other rituals, but devotees will have to follow the COVID-19 norms, he said. "It has also been decided that Tarnetar fair will not be allowed to be held this year due to the coronavirus situation. But devotees can visit the temple to offer prayers," he said, adding that the fair was cancelled last year as well due to the pandemic.
Devotees and tourists turn up in large numbers to take part in the fair, which has been described as a "celebration of ethnic Gujarat's folk-dance, music, costumes and the arts, centered around young tribal men and women seeking marriage partners" as described by the state tourism department on its official website.
In its latest notification issued on Friday, the state government has allowed all religious, social, educational, cultural and political functions to be organised with no more than 400 participants on an open ground, and with half its capacity in an enclosed area with the numbers not exceeding 400.
Although the number of daily infection cases has dropped significantly in Gujarat, the government has said that it was alert in view of the possible third wave of the pandemic.