Nirmal: Popular temples in Telangana have been shut for devotees in view of the coronavirus outbreak.
Following the State government’s instructions, Gnana Saraswathi Devastanam in Basar, Bhadrakali temple in Warangal and Bhadrachalam temple in Kothagudem were closed until further orders while Ramappa temple in Mulugu district and Rajeshwara Swamy temple in Vemulawada were shut till March 31. However, the routine of these temples will continue.
On Friday, devotees were forced to return without having darshan of the deity at the Basar temple, where priests performed Danwantari, Mrityunjaya and Sudarshana Mula Mantra homam for the well-being of people.
Bhadrachalam Temple Executive Officer G Narasimhulu urged devotees not to turn up at the temple for darshan or any activities such as marriages, vehicle poojas etc. The streets of the temple town wore a deserted look with the authorities closing the shrine, while shops selling religious items, toys and other articles witnessed no business.
According to a local shopkeeper, Katakam Krishna, the business was rather slack for the past six months. There had been a fall in the number of devotees after the boat mishap near Papikondalu in Andhra Pradesh some time ago. “Adding to our woes, the coronavirus has affected us now. The suspension of Sri Rama Navami celebrations and closing of the temple will have a bad impact on us,” he lamented.
The authorities of Rajeshwara Swamy temple in Vemulawada, who continued ‘lagu darshan’ (brief darshan) after suspending all rituals on Thursday, closed the shrine from Thursday night — the first time since 1978 when there was a cholera epidemic and the shutdown lasted a month. A few devotees, who visited the temple on Friday, were sent back.
Meanwhile, District Collector D Krishna Bhaskar, along with other officials, visited the temple and inspected the premises. He advised people gathered in front of the shrine to take precautionary measures to put an end to the spread of the virus.
Nagarkurnool Collector E Sreedhar announced the cancellation of Saileshwaram jatara scheduled to be held between April 5 and 10 in Lingala mandal.
The annual jatara, which is held during the Chaitra Shuddha Pournami, deep inside the Nallamala forests, sees lakhs of devotees from AP, Telangana, Karnataka, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra and even north India.
As a precautionary measure, the district administration has decided not to allow devotees to enter the forest.