Kerala

COVID-19 norms: Aluva Siva temple wears a deserted look on the occasion of ‘bali tharpanam’

The Siva temple at Aluva Manappura. File photo   | Photo Credit: H. Vibhu

The Aluva ‘Sivarathri Manapuram’ on the banks of Periyar River, which used to teem with hundreds on the occasion of ‘Karkita Vavu Bali’, wore a deserted look on Monday as the COVID-19 restrictions forced them to pay obeisance to their ancestors by offering the rituals in the comfort of their homes.

The Ernakulam district administration and the Rural Police wing had issued stringent directives against the conduct of rituals at the Aluva Siva Temple in view of the worsening pandemic crisis. They had barricaded the roads leading to the temple, besides issuing prior warnings to the people not to turn up at the banks to take a dip in the river and offer ‘bali’ in the traditional manner.

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“To our knowledge, it is for the first time that the ‘bali tharpanam’ had to be cancelled at the Aluva Mahadeva temple. It was held even during the floods in 2018,” said Ganeswaran Potti, Administrative Officer of the temple.

“However, we had permitted the devotees to opt for advance bookings for rituals such as ‘thilahomam’ and ‘pithruhomam’. These were held in the morning even though the temple was closed for devotees in view of the restrictions in place,” he said.

The temple administrators recalled that the devotees were not permitted to take a dip in the Periyar and offer ‘bali’ in the traditional manner owing to safety issues during the devastating floods in 2018.

The restrictions induced by the COVID-19 scenario prompted a few priests to help the people by uploading videos on social media platforms on the rituals to be undertaken at their homes. “I had offered a Facebook live after receiving numerous queries from devotees on the step-by-step performance of rituals,” said a senior priest here.

People were also not permitted to enter other temples in the district, including the Chelamattom Sreekrishna temple near Perumbavoor, to offer the rituals.

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Printable version | Dec 5, 2020 11:40:32 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/covid-19-norms-aluva-siva-temple-wears-a-deserted-look-on-the-occasion-of-bali-tharpanam/article32135562.ece

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