COVID-19 | Devotees keep away from places of worship

There were very few devotees for the evening prayers at St. Mary's Basilica Church in Bengaluru on Saturday.

There were very few devotees for the evening prayers at St. Mary's Basilica Church in Bengaluru on Saturday.   | Photo Credit: K MURALI KUMAR

Temples, churches, mosques taking precautionary steps

In times of crises, it’s not uncommon for people to turn to religion for comfort. In Bengaluru, people may be choosing to pray at home as several places of worship have recorded a decline in the number of devotees over the last week.

On their part, temple trusts, mosque committees and the archdiocese of Bengaluru as well as churches from different denominations have been taking measures to ensure that their premises are clean and in compliance with the norms fixed by the government.

Big temples in the city, such as Sri Krishna Temple managed by ISKCON, and Venkateshwara Temple managed by the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams, have reported a marked decrease in the number of devotees coming in.

According to P. Gopinath from TTD, every Saturday, nearly 6,000 people visit the temple. “However, yesterday (March 14), there were just 2,000 visitors. As a precautionary measure, the temples have intensified cleaning activities.

An ISKCON representative told The Hindu that hand wash facilities have been made. Other temples have stopped distributing ‘prasad’ and ‘teerta’ to devotees.

Several mosques and prayer halls in the city have also taken similar precautions. Maqsood Imran, Maulvi, Jamia Mosque, and member of Moon Committee, told The Hindu that Islam insists on ‘Wadoo’ before prayers five times a day. “While doing ‘Wadoo’, one has to clean one’s face, hands and feet. This helps to keep infections at bay,” he said, but added that footfalls to the prayer halls had not seen much of a drop.

A portion of the sermons are devoted to creating awareness about COVID-19.

With Lent season on, many churches in the city have also put in place some restrictions. Instructing churches to constitute ‘Health teams’, Archbishop Peter Machado, who is also the president of Karnataka Region Catholic Bishops’ Council, said attention should be given to emptying and cleaning holy water fonts regularly.

Communion during mass should be given on the hand, rather than on the tongue, a practice that is already being followed by a few churches. That apart, people have been advised not to kiss the crucifix during Good Friday or the Bishop’s ring.

However, some churches have announced that there will be no services till end of March.

Deputy Commissioner (Bengaluru Urban) G.N. Shivamurthy has issued an order prohibiting any jathre and santhe (village fairs) or any event that will attract many people. It is the season of village fairs in many areas on the city's outskirts, such as Varthur, Ramagondanahalli, Byatarayanapura. Mr. Shivamurthy confirmed that all these will have to be put off until further notice.

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Printable version | Apr 4, 2020 12:27:57 PM |

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