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Coronavirus | Rituals in Varanasi ghats curtailed to prevent COVID-19 spread

Boats are docked at a ghat, in wake of the deadly coronavirus pandemic, in Varanasi on March 18, 2020.   | Photo Credit: PTI

The ghats of Varanasi have been emptied out as the administration finally swung into action on Wednesday afternoon to check the possible spread of COVID-19 by preventing crowds from gathering.

All foreign nationals landing at the city’s airport are being subjected to 24-hour quarantine and their throat swabs sent for testing to the medical college at Banaras Hindu University. According to Sanjay Rai, additional chief medical officer of Varanasi, four quarantine centres have been set up in the city — they include two government-run facilities (in Pandeypur and Parmanandpur) and two hotels (Sanjay Motel and Runway Hotel) near the airport.

Also read | In rare move, Odisha government restricts access to Puri Jagannath temple from March 20

Symbolic gesture

The Ganga ‘aarti’, the popular evening ritual at the Dashashwamedha Ghat that draws thousands of visitors to the holy city on a daily basis, is going to be a symbolic gesture until further notice.

The ritual is performed by just one priest — instead of seven — and lasts only a few minutes. Entry to the sanctum sanctorum of the Kashi Vishwanath temple has also been barred since Wednesday; devotees will now have to stand in a fast-moving queue for a glimpse of the deity from outside the sanctum.

Also read | Narendra Modi calls for determination, patience and a ‘janata curfew’

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Printable version | Apr 14, 2021 5:33:59 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/coronavirus-rituals-in-varanasi-ghats-curtailed-to-prevent-covid-19-spread/article31115009.ece

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