No ringing of bells in UP temples now

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Lucknow, June 4 (IANS) When temples across the state reopen on June 8, it will be a different experience for devotees.
Devotees will not be allowed to ring bells when they enter the temples and there will be no community feasts either. People, however, can bring their own bells and ring it inside the temples.
Entry into the religious places will be permitted only for those who wear masks. Priests will wear gloves and the norm of social distancing will have to be maintained.
Mahant Diya Giri of the famous Mankameshwar temple said, “The ‘Jalabhishek’ will now be held through a pipe so that devotees can perform the ritual without entering he sanctum sanctorum of the temple which is rather small.”
The Mankameshwar temple, one of the oldest in the state capital, witnesses huge crowds in the month of ‘Saawan’. The first Monday of ‘Saawan’ will be held on July 6.
At the Khatu Shyam temple on the banks of Gomti river, devotees will not be allowed inside but will have to offer prayers from outside the sanctum sanctorum.
“We will be deploying 15 security guards who will ensure that social distancing is maintained and there is no violation of safety protocols,” said Sudhir Kumar Garg, vice-president of the temple trust.
The historic Aliganj Hanuman temple, however, will not open on June 8 in the absence of adequate security. “We will open the temple from June 15 when all arrangements are made,” said Anil Tiwari, an office bearer of the temple administration.
In almost all temples, devotees will not be allowed to bring ‘prasad’ from outside. They will have to buy the same from the temple complex. This is being done to ensure that the ‘prasad’ is prepared under hygienic conditions under the supervision of the temple administration.
Most of the churches in Lucknow have installed sanitization machines in their premises.
Father Morris of the ABC Church, said, “We are appealing to the people to come in limited numbers. We have advised that limited number of members from a family should attend the daily mass so that others get a chance. The church will open on June 8 with a thanksgiving service.”
The Gurudwaras in the state capital are putting up sanitization tunnels and the ‘langar’ will be held through social distancing.
Meanwhile, prominent temples in Mathura and Vrindavan have expressed their reluctance to open from June 8 without adequate police deployment.
Representatives of several famous temples, including Banke Bihari, Dwarkadhish, ISCKON and Radha Raman temples, have sought police deployment to ensure social distancing.
Mammu Goswami from Banke Bihari temple said, “If temples open without police deployment, it will be difficult to follow social distancing norms due to the crowds in the narrow lanes that lead to most of the shrines.
Hundreds of temples in the twin towns of Mathura-Vrindavan were shut on March 22 to check the spread of coronavirus.
The chief executive officer of Ranganath temple, Angha Shri Niwasan, demanded that the administration should restrict the movement with passes and allow only a limited number of people to visit the temples.
“Crowd management is a major issue and on our own, we are not equipped to handle this,” he said.
Vrindavan City Magistrate Manoj Kumar said, “We have discussed all issues and asked the temple managements to submit their suggestions in writing. The report will be submitted to the district magistrate who will take the final decision.”

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