Covid-19: No sashtang pranam, only namaste in Gujarat temples
Nothing is same after the outbreak of coronavirus, not even the way of paying obeisance to God.
`Sashtang pranam' or prostration before the deity is no longer allowed in Gujarat temples. Instead, devotees can only bring their palms together to offer a`namaste'.
Carrying 'prasad' (offerings) inside the sanctum sanctorum is also not allowed in line with the standard operating protocol of the state government, authorities said.
Temples and other places of worship reopened in the state in June, 75 days after the lockdown came into effect.
"Sashtang pranam is not allowed as per the government guidelines. No devotee is allowed to touch anything as per the SOP," said Vijaysinh Chavda, manager of the famous Somnath temple.
"People are allowed inside the sanctum sanctorum only for `darshan' to ensure minimum contact in view of the pandemic," he said.
Sashtang pranam or namaskar involves prostrating oneself in such a way that eight parts of the body touch the floor.
"No devotees are allowed entry in the temple for aarti which is performed thrice a day, and no more than five devotees are allowed to sit for prayers at once. No more than three persons are allowed during yagna," Chavda further said.
Ambaji Mata Temple in Banaskantha district, another major shrine in Gujarat, too has banned sashtang pranam as per government guidelines, said its spokesperson Ashish Raval.
Social distancing and wearing a mask are compulsory and devotees are allowed inside only after thermal screening, he said.
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