Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has given the nod for the 'Kanwar yatra' that begins on July 25. The Chief Minister has asked officials to issue necessary guidelines regarding it as devotees also travel to neighbouring states of Uttarakhand and Bihar during the yatra. "In view of coronavirus, necessary guidelines should be issued regarding travel after communicating with the state governments concerned," he said.
Last year, the Uttar Pradesh government had suspended the Kanwar yatra in view of the pandemic.
The Uttarakhand government has already cancelled the Kanwar yatra and imposed Section 144 on the borders of Haridwar.
"The yatra is scheduled to begin from July 25. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has said that state officials should speak to their counterparts in Bihar, as there is a significant movement of devotees between our two states, and ensure that there are no violations of Covid protocols. The home department has been asked to formulate a detailed guideline for regulating the yatra this year," said a government spokesperson.
He said that even as Uttarakhand was closed for Kanwar yatra, Shiva devotees in Uttar Pradesh had several holy sites they could visit to bring back Ganga Jal.
Taking cue from the previous year, the government is likely to put in restrictions on the number of devotees allowed in temples at the same time.
An official said that it is likely that not more than five persons will be allowed inside temples at a time. Social distancing and wearing of masks will also be compulsory.
The Kanwar yatra takes place during the Hindu month of Shrawan spread over July and August. Lakhs of Shiva devotees travel to places like Haridwar, Gaumukh and Garhmukhteshwar to take a dip in the river Ganga and fill pots with Ganga Jal which is then carried back to their homes or revered temples and poured on the Shivling.
(With IANS inputs)