Temples, mosques, churches open sans offerings in Karnataka

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Bengaluru: After over two months gap, religious places — temples, churches, gurudwaras and mosques were allowed to open for darshans (seeking blessing) or prayers across the state on Monday.

All places of religious worship had been closed for the public ever since Karnataka enforced ‘COVID-19 Curfew’ on April 27 to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

 On the first day, all shrines that were allowed to open across the state saw decent footfall with devotees and even authorities of these shrines made elaborate arrangements to maintain social distance.

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There are a total 34,558 temples that are directly controlled by Karnataka’s Hindu Religious Organisation and Charitable Endowments department.

Among these only a handful of them which are categorised as ‘Grade A’ temples generate revenue of more than Rs 25 lakh. After the Covid curbs were relaxed, Karnataka ordered the reopening of all religious institutions across the state.

Following COVID protocols, most of the temples refrained from distributing prasadam (sanctified food) or flowers or teertha (holy water) which is common practice among all Hindu shrines.

 Muslim shrines (Darghas) also refrained their devotees from offering Chaddar (offering) or perfume and flowers to mazar (tomb).

However, cutting across the caste lines, devotees were allowed to visit and strict protocols were strictly followed like – wearing face masks and maintaining social distance in almost all shrines.

Despite orders to reopen the temples, some of the prominent temples – Kirshna temple in Udupi and Savadatti Yellamma temple will remain closed for some more time.

Udupi’s Krishna temple’s chief custodian, Adamaru matha seer Eshpriya Teerth Sripada told reporters that the math has decided to adopt wait and watch policy for another week or so before allowing the devotees for darshan, while Belagavi deputy commissioner, M.G Hiremath told reporters that famous Yellamma temple in border district will not be opened as it receives huge number of devotees from Maharashtra, which had been severely affected with Delta plus variant of COVID virus.