Several devotees were injured after Mahakaleshwar Temple in Madhya Pradesh's Ujjain witnessed a massive rush of devotees on Monday. The stampede-like situation at the temple was reported on the first day of the holy month of Shravan. According to a statement by an official, despite COVID-19 restrictions, devotees rushed inside the temple premises to offer prayers, which led to one of the barricade gates getting damaged.
"At around 8:30 am, a large number of people tried to enter for darshan and in the process broke the barricade at gate number four of the temple complex. After the barricade broke, several people tried to run towards the main deity but thankfully there was no untoward incident," the temple's assistant administrator Moolchand Joonwal said.
"Due to it being the first Monday of the holy month of Shravan, people were allowed to stand in queues for darshan apart from pre-booking.
However, the crowd that turned up was much larger than what we expected," he said.
A video of the incident went viral on social media.
Eyewitnesses said social distancing and other COVID-19 norms were violated as people queued up outside the temple.
Various media reports also said the crowd turned violent following visits by some VIPs, including Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
The Mahakaleshwar temple in Ujjain reopened for devotees on June 28 this year after a gap of 80 days. The temple was shut for public on April 9. It had to be closed for the second time during the pandemic that broke out last year.
Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and is one of the twelve Jyotirlingams, shrines that are said to be the most sacred abodes of Lord Shiva. It is located in the ancient city of Ujjain in the state of Madhya Pradesh.
The temple is situated on the side of the holy river Shipra.
The presiding deity, Lord Shiva in the lingam form is believed to be Swayambhu, deriving currents of power (Shakti) from within itself as against the other images and lingams that are ritually established and invested with mantra-shakti.