Nepal: Pashupatinath Temple re-opens after second wave of COVID-19

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Representative image
Representative image

Kathmandu [Nepal], September 10 (ANI): Closed with the onset of the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic, Pashupatinath temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and religious shrine has opened its doors for devotees.

Closed for four and a half months the temple reopened for devotees on Friday. On the first day of the reopening, devotees rushed to the temple in the morning.

"I arrived in Kathmandu two months back. I was wishing to visit the Pashupatinath Temple and came here today not knowing that temple has reopened. I consider it to be by fortune that I could get to the temple on the very first day of its reopening. I always had wandered to come here," Sita Adhikari, a devotee from Birtamod who came to the temple on Friday told ANI.

As per the officials from the Pashupati Area Development Trust (PADT), the temple will be open only till 1 pm as the risk of the virus is still prevalent. It is mandatory to wear a mask on the temple premises and only 25 devotees are allowed to enter the temple at a time.

Similarly, devotees have to maintain social distance while entering the temple. Arrangements have been made for the devotees to enter the temple through one door and exit through the other. PADT has made it clear that special puja, however, will not start immediately.

"It's a moment to cherish and feel happy. Devotees were in a hard situation as they couldn't come to the temple to worship for a very long time. The pandemic was taking a toll on everyone. Now as the doors have opened, I am very alighted and happy," Saran Katuwal another devotee and a father of a 13 months old child told ANI.

The UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the pilgrimage sites for Hindus around the world opened its doors from Friday after atonement worship was performed on Thursday, seeking forgiveness.

It had remained shut for devotees for nearly 5 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The PADT has stated that all necessary preparations have been made for the devotees to visit the temple.

The Pashupatinath Temple was closed for devotees for nine months after the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic hit Nepal in March 2020. The temple, which was closed on March 24, 2020, was reopened on December 16, 2020.

Likewise, this year too, the PADT will decide the time of special worship, opening of the temple as usual considering the risk of the pandemic. Also, the Pashupatinath Temple was closed on the occasion of HaritalikaTeej in 2020 and 2021.

Along with Pashupatinath, temples including Guhyeshwari and Chandra Vinayak in the Pashupatinath area have also been opened for devotees from Friday. (ANI)

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