Gurugram: 5,000 visit Sheetla Mata Mandir on first day of Navratri festivalUpdated: Oct 17, 2020, 23:26 IST
Gurugram: Amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, the Navratri festival commenced at the Sheetla Mata Mandir -- the most famous temple in the city -- on Saturday with nearly 5,000 devotees turning up on the first day.
Temple authorities said that the rush was nearly one-third of the usual strength on the opening day and that largely devotees followed social distancing and other safety protocols.
“Around 15,000 people usually turn up on the opening day. We distributed around 35 masks free of cost to devotees who had come to the temple without mask today. Almost all of them belonged to the economically weaker section and hence, we did not levy any fine on them. Regardless, we ensured all other measures such as thermal scanning at entry, hand sanitising, and six-foot distance in queues,” said Yugdutt Sharma, temple officer, Shri Mata Sheetla Devi Shrine Board.
With the district administration mentioning that any kind of offerings and prasad distribution is prohibited during the festival in its standard operating procedure (SOP) issued on Friday evening, the shrine board members have installed a counter outside the temple premises where devotees carrying idols and offerings could leave their items behind before proceeding inside.
The temple and health department officials are estimating around 4 lakh devotees are expected to visit the festival. Sharma said that nearly 70% of the total number of devotees usually turn out on the last two days of the nine-day festival.
To keep constant surveillance on devotees, the temple has installed 58 CCTV cameras. Also, as part of security measures and keeping a vigil on coronavirus-related safety guidelines, around 250 Gurugram police officials, 200 temple staff, and around 50 workers of the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG) have also been deployed at the temple.
DK Bhardwaj, deputy commissioner of police (traffic), Gurugram police, said that due to the lower than the usual rush, there was no congestion on the stretches leading to the temple and added that until there is a change in the situation, no route blockages or diversions would be enforced.
“The rush on the stretches leading to the temple was not high and was easily managed. There were no instances of congestion or any traffic build-up as such. Nevertheless, we had deployed a high number of traffic police marshals on the stretch as a precautionary measure. Until the rush increases manifold, our traffic management plan will remain the same,” said Bhardwaj.
Vinay Pratap Singh, MCG commissioner and chief administrator of the shrine board, said, “All safety measures regarding coronavirus have been taken in the temple by both the MCG as well as the shrine board. While we understand the relevance of the festival, we want to ensure both devotees and the staff inside the temple stay healthy and safe.”