16 December 2020, Kathmandu
The Pashupatinath Temple has opened to the devotees from today by adopting health safety protocols.
Atonement worship was offered at the Pashupatinath Temple on Wednesday, seeking forgiveness as the shrine had to be shut to the devotees for nine months over the risk of coronavirus infection.
The entry of devotees inside the temple, which was continued on a regular basis since ancient times, was forbidden in view of the risk of the global coronavirus pandemic.
The Pashupatinath Temple has opened to the devotees by adopting health safety protocols, said Dr Pradip Dhakal, member-secretary of the Pashupati Area Development Trust (PADT).
In the initial period, the devotees would be allowed entry from the western gate and they will have to exit from the same gate after offering obeisance. They will have to compulsorily wear the face mask.
Although the temple has opened, the special puja, singing of hymns and ritual activities, however, would not start immediately.
“We were compelled to restrict ourselves during the crisis of the pandemic. We will gradually start operating the special puja, singing of hymns and other rituals that have been suspended by adopting health safety procedures after the temple’s opening on Wednesday,” he said.
Several religious organizations had been carrying out a symbolic protest at the Pashupati area under the leadership of the World Hindu Federation, saying the devotees have not been able to visit the temple for worship as it remained closed for nine months.
PADT stated that special security alertness has been adopted in the Pashupati area as the temple has opened after a long time amid the existing risk of coronavirus infection.
Even the religious tourists have not arrived in the Pashupati area since the last week of March. The shops selling flowers and items for worship also remained closed for nine months.
The PADT has suffered losses of around Rs 700 million due to this, PADT executive director Dr Ghanashyam Khatiwada said.
However, the offering of regular prayer and worship, aarati, food offerings and the crematorium services were continued during the nine months.