The temples of Ganga Maiya, Lord Shiva and Lakshmi-Narayan at Har-ki-Pauri in this Uttarakhand town, which is hosting the three-month Mahakumbh Mela Jan 14-April 28, will remain closed during the solar eclipse on Friday.
According to local priests, the impact of the eclipse will be felt at the bathing venue of the fair from 9.35 a.m. to 2.30 pm. All the temples will close their doors to ward off the negative energy generated by the eclipsed sun.
The bathers will congregate on the bank around 3 p.m. to resume the "new moon dip" on the occasion of Mauni Amavasya, priests said.
"It is believed that the world plunges into darkness during the solar eclipse and energy fields turn negative. The germs in the atmosphere become active increasing the level of contamination.
"Temples usually keep the doors shut during a solar eclipse. But the fact that the fair and the new moon have coincided with the solar eclipse is auspicious. The holy dip will wash away the negative energy," Mukesh Kothari, a priest at the Lakshmi-Narayan temple in Har-ki-Pauri, told IANS.
Yoginder Das, a seer associated with the Vasukinath Temple at Baidyanath Dham in Jharkhand, said: "The pilgrims on the day of solar eclipse should give alms to holy men after bathing in the river for good karma."
"This is a unique astronomical phenomenon. The last solar eclipse coincided with the Mahakumbh fair in 1914," the seer said.
Apart from the shrines at Har-ki-Pauri, temples such as the Saptarishi temple, the Manasa Devi temple, the Chandi Devi temple and the Maya Devi temple will remain closed during the hours of the eclipse.
"After the eclipse, the temple sanctums will be purified with water from the Ganges, flowers, grains and ceremonial lamps," Kothari said.