Dakshineswar Kali Temple in Kolkata. (ANI Photo)
KOLKATA: Several prominent temples across West Bengal imposed a ban on entry of devotees from Sunday after the state government imposed a complete lockdown amid the surging number of Covid-19 cases.
Authorities of Dakshineswar Kali Temple in the city and Tarapith Kali Temple in Birbhum district have closed the places of worship for the devotees from Sunday because of the complete lockdown, imposed in the state from May 16-30.
“We have clamped a blanket ban on entry of devotees, which will be in force till May 30 as of now,” Kushal Choudhuri said on behalf of Dakshineswar temple authorities.
The daily puja and other rituals will continue, as usual, he said.
The Tarapith temple management, in a notice, said, due to the COVID-19 induced lockdown, the temple premises will be out of bounds for devotees from May 16-30.
“We will review the situation periodically,” the management said.
However, the rituals will continue sans devotees.
The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), Mayapur, has shut down the Sri Chandradaya Mandir till May 30 for visitors and local devotees, ISKCON, Mayapur, spokesperson Subrata Das told PTI.
“Only a few resident devotees will be allowed, after thorough screening, for carrying out essential services like deity worship, offering ‘bhog’ and ‘aarti’. They will have to wear masks appropriately and maintain social distancing.
“Devotees all over the world are requested to follow the various programmes of the temple via online platforms,” Das said.
However, many small temples like the Kali temples in Shyambazar area of the city and Beltala area in Agarpara, and roadside shrines remained open.
All the 65 churches under the ‘Archdiocese of Calcutta‘ order have stopped the entry of visitors due to the pandemic and lockdown, a spokesperson told PTI.
The general secretary of Gurdwara Behala and a prominent Sikh community leader in the city, Satnam Singh Ahluwalia, said, “We haven’t forbidden the entry of visitors inside the Gurdwara premises. But we are monitoring their entry and ensuring that they adhere to all Covid-19 safety norms.”
“We are regulating the entry of worshippers, during namaz, who have to follow Covid-19 protocols while entering the premises. We have not banned the entry of the devotees,” the Imam of Nakhoda Masjid Shafique Qasmi said.
People are assembling in small groups during namaz, as stipulated by the West Bengal government, and they are wearing masks, he said.