Negative RT-PCR report for entry to Kashi Vishwanath Temple not must now
| Tuesday | 8th June, 2021
VARANASI: The provision of carrying negative RT-PCR report for getting entry in the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, enforced from April 14, will end from Tuesday morning, although entry to the devotees will be permitted as per the Covid-19 protocol.Coincidently, after the complete closure of over 100 days during the first wave of Covid-19, the KVT had reopened on June 8 in 2020 also.
VARANASI: The provision of carrying negative RT-PCR report for getting entry in the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, enforced from April 14, will end from Tuesday morning, although entry to the devotees will be permitted as per the Covid-19 protocol. Coincidently, after the complete closure of over 100 days during the first wave of Covid-19, the KVT had reopened on June 8 in 2020 also.
The divisional commissioner Deepak Agrawal said, “The district administration had made carrying negative RT-PCR test report of past 72 hours mandatory for entry into KVT from April 14 following a massive surge in number of Covid-19 cases with the beginning of second wave of the pandemic. As the situation is now under control, we have decided to reopen the KVT with restrictions as prescribed in Covid protocol.”
The officials said that SOPs for crowd management from entry of devotees into the temple till their exit has been finalised. The devotees will enter from Chhattadwar (gate 4) while maintaining social distancing for which markings have been made. Wearing mask and sanitising hands will be a must for entry, they said adding that as per the state government guidelines, more than five persons will not be allowed inside the temple at a time.
The commissioner made it clear that no one will be allowed to enter Garbhgriha (sanctum sanctorum) while sparsh darshan (touching Jyotirlinga) will also not be allowed for now. Devotees will offer prayer from outside the sanctum sanctorum by darshan of the Jyotirlinga from the door, he added.
Though the district administration and temple authorities had not announced closure of the temple like in 2020, making negative RT-PCR report mandatory for entry into the temple led to decrease in the number of devotees visiting the temple to almost nil in past 54 days. Before the Covid menace started in March 2020, KVT had an average footfall of over 10,000 devotees per day. After the temple reopened on June 8, 2020 devotees had started thronging in meagre numbers in Shrawan month, even on Shrawan Mondays. The arrival of devotees, including pilgrims especially from southern and western states, started in winters.
The district administration then decided to restrict the entry of devotees in KVT and other prominent temples by making the provision of carrying negative RT-PCR report and also asked hoteliers to seek the same from people seeking accommodation.
Amidst challenges of arranging beds in level-3 and L-2 facilities for the massively increasing critical Covid positive patients, the commissioner and the district magistrate Kaushal Raj Sharma had issued advisory to discourage people from gathering at prime shrines, religious and tourist sites. The district administration has also asked pilgrims and tourists from across the country to avoid visiting the holy city for pilgrimage in view of the booming figures of new Covid-19 positive cases.
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