Varanasi: Well, it can’t get more ironic than this! While we fervently looked up to the Gods in heaven to save us from the pollution disaster, we forgot that they are not safe from the toxic air as well. Which is perhaps why devotees in the holy city of Varanasi, are helping gods survive the toxic air by covering their faces with anti-pollution masks.
Yes! Idols of Lord Shiva, Goddess Durga, Goddess Kali and Sai Baba at the popular Shiv-Parvati temple in the Sigra area of Varanasi were seen covered with white masks, the pictures of which have gone viral on social media.
The priest of the temple Harish Mishra, said that the devotees suggested that the gods should also wear masks as they might also be affected by pollution.
“Varanasi is a place of belief. We treat our idols as living deities and take pains to make them happy and comfortable. In summer, the idols are slathered with sandalwood paste to keep them cool and in winter, we cover them in woollens. Likewise, to save them from pollution, we have put masks on their faces,” Harish Mishra, a priest at the temple told IANS.
The priest also claimed that many devotees visiting the temples also started wearing masks after seeing the idols, and believes the move is raising awareness among children and adults.
Varanasi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Lok Sabha constituency, is no exception to the extreme air pollution as the city was covered in a thick blanket of smog, post Diwali celebrations. The Air Quality Index (AQI) in Varanasi as well in many other towns in Uttar Pradesh hovered between 400 to 450 on Tuesday indicating dangerous levels of pollution.