New norms at religious places after reopening, temples miss serpentine queues

A deserted view of Kole Kandoli temple at Nagrota.
A deserted view of Kole Kandoli temple at Nagrota.

Sanjeev K Sharma
JAMMU, Aug 28: As the religious places in J&K reopened on August 16 after remaining close for over five months, no serpentine queues were witnessed even on Sundays and Tuesdays at temples and very less number of devotees now visit these places while others are offering prayers at their homes.
On the other, management at these places of worship has geared up to adjusting to new norms and is equipped by all the necessary things like sanitizers as per the guidelines of authorities.
It is pertinent to mention here that all the religious places in J&K were closed in the month of March this year due to the nationwide lockdown triggered by deadly COVID-19 pandemic.
“Hardly 100 devotees, mostly the locals, are visiting the temple daily,” said Jai Prakash, President Kol Kandoli Temple Management Committee.
On new normal he said that guidelines by the authorities are properly being followed at the temple.
“The concerned Tehsildar and Deputy Superintendent of Police have instructed us that the devotees visiting the temple should not offer anything including flowers, water etc to the deity and they should not touch anything in the temple,” Prakash said adding that among other guidelines is that the devotees should enter the temple with a mask over their face, keep hand sanitizer, maintain distancing etc.
He also said that they are instructed to sanitize the temple premises four times a day using a chemical provided by the Tehsildar while the temple authorities on their own also have purchased the disinfectant for sanitization purpose.
“We are also instructed to get hands of devotees washed using soap, register their names, contact numbers etc before allowing them into the temple to pay obeisance,” Jai Prakash maintained.
Pertinent to mention here is that Kol Kandoli temple in Nagrota is the first Darshan enroute to the pilgrimage of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Ji.
Similarly, Bansi Lal, priest at revered Deva Mai temple in Katra also claimed that very few devotees are visiting the religious place which is known as the second Darshan of Mata Vaishno Devi Ji pilgrimage.
He said they daily perform Aarti twice and pray Goddess for relief to the entire world from COVID-19 pandemic.
Similar were the views of Pandit Rumil Sharma of Pracheen Bhairav Mandir in the heart of Jammu city.
Situation remained the same even at the religious places of Muslims.
“This Friday few Namazis visited the mosque to offer Namaz following all the guidelines like maintaining social distancing, wearing masks etc,” Moulvi Rafiq of Noor Masjid in Ragoora area of Sidhra said.
He also informed that children below the age of 10 and elders above 60 years of age have been instructed not to visit the mosques and offer prayers from their homes.
Gurnam Singh of Tali Saab Gurudwara in Tallab Tillo said, number of devotees have declined after reopening of the religious place and only 50-60 devotees now visit daily to the Gurudwara and they sit maintaining social distancing apart from following other guidelines of the authorities to prevent Corona infection.


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