Mahabodhi temple committee issues guidelines amid coronavirus threatUpdated: Mar 17, 2020 19:16 IST
The Bodh Gaya Temple Management Committee (BTMC) has issued certain guidelines for devotees visiting the Mahabodhi temple following the growing threat of coronavirus.
Devotees have been asked to maintain a distance of one metre between each other at the temple premises. Moreover, the practice of ‘chivar daan’ or the donation of robes to Lord Buddha at the temple has also been discontinued till March 31.
Besides, the work of cleaning and polishing the gold veneer around the dome atop the temple has been postponed and the 20-member team of experts from Thailand, who were at Bodh Gaya for this work, has been asked to reschedule and return to their country.
The Mahabodhi temple is site where Lord Buddha attained enlightenment more than 2,000 years ago. The Unesco declared it as one of the World Heritage Sites and the temple has remained a major attraction among tourists.
“The cleaning and polishing work for the dome has been deferred considering coronavirus,” N Dorje, BTMC secretary said. The work is a part of a maintenance routine of the temple and is done every three years. “But this time, we asked the experts to return to their country and come back when the situation gets better,” he said.
A BTMC employee further said that though the temple has no foreign tourists these days, domestic tourists keep visiting the temple. “They turn up to attend prayers and or to meditate. However, as large gatherings need to be avoided now, we issued instructions asking them to maintain a one metre-distance,” he said.
Besides, the chivar daan has also been stopped at the Mahabodhi. “Though the ritual of changing Lord Buddha’s robe is still done at a regular interval, their donation by the devotees has been stopped to avoid infection,” he said.
Rakesh Kumar, secretary of tourist guides’ association said the temple still has a good number of visitors. “Many monks stay at monasteries at Bodh Gaya. The city has around 150 monasteries constructed by different Buddhist countries,” he said.