The district administration has banned entry of devotees into the Mutharamman Temple at Kulasekarapattinam on important days in connection with Dasara festival that begins on October 6.
Chairing a meeting on conduct of the festival along with officials of Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department and festival committee representatives here on Monday, Collector K. Senthil Raj said the 11-day festival would be held on the temple premises and devotees would not be allowed on the day of flag hoisting (October 6), Soorasamharam (October 15) and the final day (October 16).
The decision has been taken in view of COVID-19 situation.
However, devotees would be allowed between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. on October 7, 11, 12, 13 and 14. They would be allowed in limited numbers by following standard operating procedures, including social distancing and wearing of masks. Devotees can make online registration for darshan, he said. Taking puja articles like flower, fruits and coconuts is not permitted.
“We are allowing devotees from nearby districts on those days but people from other districts should avoid visiting Kulasekarapattinam considering the pandemic situation,” he said. Devotees can watch the daily pujas on the temple premises that would be broadcast through You Tube channels and local television channels.
Soorasamharam, which is usually held on the seashore, would be held on the temple premises. No devotees would be allowed to stay on the seashore or to set up shops anywhere in the town. No programmes would be allowed on the seashore, a statement said.
“The entry for devotees into the temple is only for offering their prayers and not to stay on the temple premises,” he said. One representative from each festival committee would be allowed into the temple to collect ‘kappu’. New committees can be registered with the temple administration by October 4 and identity cards would be issued for them.
Processions of devotees towards the temple are not allowed and they should complete their fast in their respective villages. Though the sponsors of daily pujas would be allowed into the temple, they would not be permitted to sit on the temple premises to witness the entire proceedings of the puja. The district administration is not making any arrangement to operate special bus services from other districts. Devotees from other districts are not allowed to stay in Kulasekarapattinam.
The Collector has appealed to those aged above 65 years, those with comorbidities like diabetes, breathing problem and hypertension, and pregnant women to avoid visiting the temple on the festival days.
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