A huge controversy is underway in Kerala over the reopening of temples and shrines amid the coronavirus pandemic, and authorities at the Sabarimala temple in the state’s Pathanamthitta district on Wednesday said that preparations are on for the temple to reopen on June 14 (Sunday) for the monthly puja.
“The Sabarimala temple will open on June 14 evening for monthly puja. We discussed with both ‘tantris’ of the temple. With their consultation and cooperation, we decided this. As of now, we’re going ahead with the monthly puja and temple festival scheduled from June 19,” Travancore Devaswom Board president N Vasu said, according to news agency ANI.
Furthermore, the temple board said that the festival will commence on June 19 and that the trademark Arat ceremony will be held on June 20 by the banks of the holy Pampa river.
“As per present schedule, the temple festival is to commence on June 19, but before that there will be the monthly puja from June 14. The Arat ceremony will be conducted on June 20 at Pampa river,” Vasu said.
In addition to this, the temple board has also put out certain guidelines for devotees, one of them being that people who wish to come to the temple and enter the sanctum sanctorum must upload their ‘Covid-19 negative’ proof during registration.
“People who registered their names through virtual queue system can enter Sannidhanam (sanctum sanctorum). People from other states, at the time of registration, should upload a certificate that they’ve tested negative for Covid-19. The certificate should be obtained from an ICMR-approved laboratory,” the Devaswom Board president said.
Meanwhile, the head priest of the temple wrote to the TDB requesting them to not open the premises till the pandemic is over.