Covid update: Karnataka to reopen temples for worship from June 1
Karnataka is among the first states to announce the reopening of religious places with restrictions from June 1.Updated: May 26, 2020 22:14 IST
Karnataka has decided to allow temples to reopen for worship from the first of June as part of a gradual resumption of activities in the state, according to Muzrai minister Kota Srinivas Poojary.
The state will issue a standard operating protocol (SOP) in this regard which is being formulated. This was decided in a meeting of the Muzrai (temple endowment) minister with chief minister B S Yediyurappa in which a number of other decisions regarding the ministry were also taken.
Also, nearly 50 prominent temples will offer online booking of ‘sevas’ (service) and ‘poojas’ (prayers) to ensure social distancing norms are maintained even as traditions are continued. E-donations will also be encouraged for meeting the dual purpose.
Since March 24, all temple gatherings and festivities have been banned due to the ongoing pandemic, with rituals being carried out only by sevadars and priests.
The temples in the state are estimated to have lost Rs 200 crore in offerings especially in March-June, considered to be the prime season on the temple circuit because of school holidays. Department officials said churches, mosques, gurudwaras and other places of worship would also be open but will have to adhere to the same SOPs that will be released soon.
Karnataka also decided to build new choultries (subsidised inn for pilgrims) at a cost of Rs 200 crore in Tirumala located in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, which is visited by lakhs of pilgrims from the state.
Central guidelines, governing the fourth phase of lockdown that ends on May 31, prohibit the resumption of mass gatherings at religious places. Followers have demanded that religious activities are also allowed with restrictions in place.
The centre, however, has allowed the observance of death rituals with maximum 20 people in attendance.
As on Tuesday, Karnataka has a total of 2182 positive cases of coronavirus as per the data available with the home ministry.