Adhering to the 21-day nationwide shutdown by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and despite the start of auspicious period of Chaitra Navratri, the Mata Vaishno Devi Trust has decided to keep the temple closed for pilgrims to amid the coronavirus outbreak. The shrine authorities said only a few rituals are being observed at the temple. This is for the first time that the city of temples, Jammu, looks disolate on the first day of ‘Chaitra Navratri’ with most of the temples shut. "The annual ‘mahayagya’ continued at Mata Vaishno Devi shrine, apart from the ceremonies connected with Navratri,” Chief Executive Officer, Shri Mata Vaishnodevi Shrine Board (SMDSV), Ramesh Kumar told PTI.
Usually, a crowd of around 40,000 to 50,000 people throng the holy shrine on the first day of Navratri. "I used to visit the cave shrine every year on the first day of Navratri to seek Mata Vaishno Devi’s blessing.
Though I am disappointed that I could not visit the shrine this time, it is a necessity to close the shrine in the wake of COVID-19 threat,” he said.
The shrine, however, has decided to telecast live the ‘darshan’ of Holy Pindis Maa Vaishno Devi daily. "We have included a 2-minute darshan of holy pindis of Mata Vaishno Devi after conclusion of ‘aarti’ (prayer).
This is being done to ensure that people get darshan of Mata in their homes during this Navratri,” Kumar said.
Keeping with the Navratri tradition, people in Jammu are keeping nine-days fast and praying to ‘Navdurga’ to rid them off the pandemic.
Earlier, the Vaishno Devi Yatra was suspended for the pilgrims. The Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board (SMVDSB) had on Tuesday asked pilgrims to put off their visit to the famous cave temple as more Covid-19 positive cases emerged in the country.
The death due to coronavirus reached 11 in India on Wednesday after another COVID-19 patient died in Tamil Nadu. Globally, more than 18,500 people have died due to coronavirus and the figures are on a constant rise. Meanwhile, PM Narendra Modi has announced a complete lockdown of the country for 21 days, to control the spread of COVID-19.