Temples reopen after two months with strict rules

Thermal screening of devotees is being done twice in Delhi’s Jhandewalan and Hanuman temples to refuse entry to a symptomatic person inside the premises

After a series of relaxations in lockdown rules by the government, residents of Delhi breathed fresh air of relief as malls, religious places, restaurants, etc, opened on Monday. The city’s Jhandewalan temple and Prachin Hanuman temple have already prepared for a heavy footfall of devotees, who have been waiting for long to offer prayers. Meanwhile, due to increasing number of Covid-19 patients in the city, the Health Ministry has issued guidelines for both temple authorities and visitors to avoid risks of infections until normalcy is restored.

“All guidelines are being followed. Devotees are only allowed to come for darshan and they are happy to see the idols. We have received a huge number of devotees who have been coming since morning and we hope that Lord Hanuman will bless us to get rid of this disease soon,” said a Prachin Hanuman Mandir trustee.

Thermal screening of devotees is being done twice in both the temples to avoid symptomatic person inside their premises. Railings, stairways and other places are being sanitised with disinfectants as well. Jhandewalan temple has barred physical offerings and ‘prasad’ is allowed to be distributed in small plastic packets at exit gates only. The authorities have also prohibited touching of idols, holy books, or any other property within the temple and devotional music is being played during morning and evening prayers to avoid choir gatherings here. The Prachin Hanuman temple has covered all its bells to avoid touching. It has also made masks mandatory inside the temple premises and has also banned distribution of ‘prasad’.

 “We are following all the guidelines as stated by the government and are only allowing asymptomatic devotees wearing masks, to enter the temple after they use sanitizer which is provided at the entrance. Social distancing marks have been put up on the ground and we have removed all bells from the premises so that people do not touch them. The temple authorities, priests and staff are also regularly screened and are sanitizing themselves. We are not accepting any kind of fruits/ coconut as part of offerings from the devotees. Today, people had queued up since 5 AM in the morning and the temple opened at 5.30 am following all the SOPs,” said Jhandewala Mandir trustee Ravinder Goel.

Meanwhile, a television has also been installed outside the Jhandewalan temple for virtual ‘darshan’. The rituals are also being broadcasted live on YouTube channel to observe social distancing as much as possible. Devotees also gathered at the Kalka Ji temple and the Gauri Shankar temple in Chandni Chowk to offer their prayers.