TIRUPATI/BHUBANESWAR: For the first time in living memory, the Sri Venkateswara temple in Tirumala will be shut to devotees for a week starting Friday while the Shri Jagannath temple in Puri will remain closed till April 1 as part of a countrywide coronavirus-induced lockdown in public places.
Daily rituals will be conducted inside the sanctum sanctorum of two of Indias holiest and most-visited shrines behind closed doors, officials said. In Gujarat, the Sommath, Dwarka and Ambaji shrines will be indefinitely shut from Friday.
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The Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanam, which administers the Venkateswara temple, said 50 other sub-shrines across the country will also be closed for a week. This is the first time in 128 years that public worship has been suspended at the 2,000-year-old Tirumala temple. According to temple records, the last such shutdown was in 1892 for unspecified reasons.
“Unless some tough decisions are taken, the (Covid-19) pandemic will impact the lives of more citizens. Based on a collective decision taken in consultation with the Andhra Pradesh government, the devasthanam has decided to close the temple from Friday,” Anil Kumar Singhal, executive officer of the managing trust, said.
The temple administration on Thursday closed entry to the ghat road at Alipiri in Tirupati. The two pedestrian routes leading to Tirumala, along the Alipiri and Srivari Mettu routes, were sealed, too.
In Puri, the decision to shut the 12th century Shri Jagannath shrine was taken after the Odisha government ordered the temporary closure of all religious places in the state — temples, mosques, churches and gurdwaras — till April 1.
Servitors will be allowed to perform their daily rituals and pay obeisance to the sibling deities of Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra, subject to the temple authorities ensuring that all health precautions are taken. Read More – Source