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Amidst religious festivals, celebrations at Ayodhya and other places to be symbolic as coronavirus plays spoiler

Ram Navami, Hanuman Jayanti, Karaga procession and other religious celebrations will be only symbolic this year

The raging coronavirus outbreak in the country has thrown a spanner at the works ahead of various religious festivals in the country. Temples across the nation, from Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh to Gandhinagar in Gujarat, have decided to hold symbolic celebrations as the daily COVID-19 caseloads continue to surge at an alarming pace.

Symbolic celebrations of Ram Navami at Ayodhya, no devotees allowed amid COVID-19 pandemic

In the wake of the ban on Ram Navami Mela in Ayodhya following the COVID-19 outbreak, the Ram Janmbhoomi Trust has decided to celebrate the birthday of Lord Ram Lala at the make-shift temple complex symbolically on April 21 without allowing any devotee.

In a post uploaded on Twitter, the Trust said that on this year’s Ram Navami, the Chief Priest of the make-shift temple will offer puja and perform other rituals in accordance with the COVID-19 protocols. The Trust said no devotees will be allowed to enter the temple complex during the symbolic celebrations.

“Considering the surge in COVID cases, it has been decided that on Shri Ramnavami, Bhagwan Ramlalla ji’s Janmotsav will be celebrated inside the premises of Shri Ram Janmabhoomi in the traditional manner under guidance of Mukhya Pujari ji, but the entry of devotees will be restricted,” the official Twitter account of Ram Janmbhoomi Teerth Kshetra tweeted.

For a second year in a row, the UP state government had banned the organisation of Ram Navami Mela following a surge in the number of active coronavirus cases in the temple town.

The Ayodhya District Magistrate Anuj Kumar Jha has announced a ban on religious congregation in the town, along with banning the entry of Ram Bhakts in Ayodhya. In addition, an order has been passed allowing only five persons at a time to visit any temple in Ayodhya on Ram Navami.

Salangpur Hanuman Temple in Gandhinagar to have muted Hanuman Jayanti celebrations

Similarly, the Salangpur Hanuman Temple in Gandhinagar has decided to not celebrate upcoming festival of Hanuman Jayanti in presence of public because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The celebrations will continue in absence of public and all the ceremonial rituals will be performed by the priests and the management of the temple. Hanuman Jayanti this year will be celebrated on April 27.

No Karaga procession this year in Bengaluru in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak

Down in south, the historic Bengaluru Karaga procession has been cancelled for the second consecutive year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The decision was announced by the Bengaluru District Collector’s office in an order dated April 17. With the state government restricting religious gatherings, Bengaluru Urban DC J Manjunath said that the decision to cancel the Karaga procession was taken in compliance with the government orders.

The Bengaluru Karaga is one of the oldest festivals celebrated in the heart of Bengaluru. Celebrated for over 300 years by the Thigala community of south Karnataka, it is also known as Karaga Shaktyotsava. It is a celebration of the wife of the Pandavas, Draupadi, where a man from the community dresses as a woman and carries a deity on his head. On the eighth day of the festival, the procession called the Karaga Shaktyotsava Sanchara crosses through the city, visiting several temples across Bengaluru.

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