KATHMANDU, Sept 10: The Pashupatinath Temple which remained closed for four and a half months owing to the second wave of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has been reopened for devotees from 5.30AM on Friday. Devotees have started flocking to the temple since early morning today.
According to Rewati Adhikari, administrative officer of the Pashupati Area Development Trust (PADT), the temple will be open only till 1PM 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. “The special puja, however, will not start immediately,” said Dr Ghanshyam Khatiwada, executive director of PADT.
He said that a meeting of the security committee that was held on Wednesday decided to open the temple from Friday morning. The atonement worship was performed at the temple on Thursday, seeking forgiveness as the popular Hindu shrine had to be shut for the devotees for a few 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 from 6AM to 1PM.
Likewise, this year too, the fund 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 Haritalika Teej in 2020 and 2021. Along with Pashupatinath, temples including Guhyeshwari and Chandra Vinayak in the Pashupatinath area have also been opened for devotees from today. The devotees have been flocking to the Chandravinayak Temple since morning for the celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi.