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Amid restrictions, rush in Himachal temples to mark Navratri

PUNJAB NEWS EXPRESS | April 13, 2021 10:11 AM

SHIMLA: Amid the rising coronavirus cases and restrictions, devotees on Tuesday thronged temples in Himachal Pradesh on the first day of the nine-day long Chaitra Navratri festival.

"Special arrangements have been made to tackle the rush during the Navratri festival keeping in mind the pandemic, " a senior official told IANS.

The festival will conclude with Ram Navami on April 21.

One of the most venerated shrines in north India, the Brajeshwari Devi temple, the seat of one of the 52 Shakti peeths in Kangra town, sees a majority of pilgrims from the neighbouring states.

Also drawing devotees are Chintpurni temple in Una district, Baba Balak Nath temple in Hamirpur district, Naina Devi temple in Bilaspur district, Jwalaji and Chamunda Devi temples in Kangra district, and Bhimakali and Hateshwari temples in Shimla district.

For the first time in recent decades, the doors of all prominent Hindu shrines in Himachal Pradesh were closed last year during the Chaitra Navratri festival owing to the imposition of statewide curfew to check coronavirus spread.

Himachal Pradesh is known as the land of gods. It has 28 prominent temples, most of which are in Kangra, Una, Bilaspur and Shimla districts.

The devotees could watch online live 'darshan' of the Brajeshwari Devi, Naina Devi, Chintpurni and Jwalaji temples, an official said. They would also be able to offer online offerings.

Amid the spike in Covid-19 cases, the state government on April 11 made it mandatory for people coming from seven high-load states to produce a RT-PCR negative report obtained within 72 hours of entry from April 16 onwards.

The high-load states are Punjab, Delhi, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.

The state has allowed the devotees to visit temples during the Navratri festival, but at the same time, organising community kitchens and 'jagran' have been banned.

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