January 19: The Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu has been shut down for devotees from today (January 19) due to the growing risk of new variant of COVID-19.
According to the Pashupati Area Development Trust (PADT), the revered Hindu holy shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva has been closed for the public until further notice.
Pashupatinath Temple as well as other shrines on the premises such as Guhyeshwari and Chandrabinayak had been drawing large gatherings of devotees lately, posing threat of transmission of COVID-19.
PADT's executive director Dr Ghanashyam Khatiwada told the national news agency RSS that regular worship will continue in these shrines during this period adhering to health safety measures.
All other services in the Pashupatinath Temple such as special puja, hymn singing and other rituals have been closed as per the decision of the government to prevent and control the spread of COVID-19, the PADT said.
The Pashupatinath Temple was closed for devotees during March, 2020 when the first wave of COVID-19 hit the country. The temple was reopened after nine months, towards mid-December, 2020 and devotees as well as temple authorities were subjected to adherence to health safety protocols against the deadly infection.
When the second wave hit during last April, the temple authorities again closed the Temple owing to the risk of Delta variant of COVID-19. The temple was reopened after nearly five months as the number of COVID-19 cases began to decline in the country.
Now , as the Omicron variant of COVID-19 has become pervasive, the PADT decided to close the Pashupatinath Temple for the devotees indefinitely. -- RSS