Kathmandu, December 16: With COVID-19 protocols in place, revered Hindu shrine Pashupatinath Temple re-opened for devotees on Wednesday morning, the Pashupati Area Development Trust confirmed. Closed since the first phase of lockdown starting in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the temple will now remain open from 6 am to 12 pm on daily basis. Atonement worship was also performed on Tuesday morning seeking forgiveness as it prepared to reopen the gates after a long hiatus.
The entry of devotees inside the temple, which had continued on a regular basis since ancient time, was prohibited during the pandemic owing to the risk of the transmission. Adhering to the health safety protocols, devotees will be allowed to offer prayers inside the temple from tomorrow, said Pradip Dhakal, member-secretary of the Pashupati Area Development Trust (PADT). Visitors will have to compulsorily wear the face mask.
Although the temple would open from Wednesday, the special puja, singing of hymns and ritual activities, however, would not start immediately. "We were compelled to restrict ourselves during the crisis of the pandemic. We will gradually start operating the special puja, singing of hymns and other rituals that have been suspended by adopting health safety procedures after the temple's opening on Wednesday," he said.
The PADT stated that special security alertness is to be adopted in the Pashupati area as the temple is opening after long amidst the existing risk of coronavirus infection. A meeting attended by all the security bodies was organised in this connection, said PADT treasurer Dr Milan Kumar Thapa.
The PADT has suffered losses around Rs 700 million due to this, PADT executive director Dr Ghanashyam Khatiwada said. However, the offering of regular prayer and worship, 'aarti', food offerings and the crematorium services were continued during the period.
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