New Delhi: Just two days after being reopened for devotees, the famous Banke Bihari temple in Vrindavan has been remain shut ‘indefinitely’ from Monday due to excessive crowds and fear of COVID-19 spread. Also Read - Goa Travel in COVID Times: Tourists to be Photographed if Not Wearing a Mask
The temple had reopened on Saturday, the first day of ‘Navratri’, after a seven-month closure due to the novel coronavirus. Over 25,000 devotees turned up to offer prayers at the world-famous temple. Also Read - Gujarat Govt Slashes RT-PCR Test Price to Rs 800 Amid Covid Surge
Prior to re-opening, the temple management had issued a notice saying only 400 devotees will be allowed in a day. Amid allegations of ‘mismanagement’, the committee decided to shut the doors for a course correction. Also Read - Lewis Hamilton Tests Positive For COVID-19, Mercedes Driver to Miss Sakhir Grand Prix
“The temple will remain shut for devotees from October 19 till further orders. It will reopen for ‘darshan’ of Lord Krishna after proper coordination with the district administration and police to ensure security of devotees during this pandemic,” temple management said in a notice.
“Police were deployed outside the temple for crowd management but the turnout of devotees was huge as it was the first day of Navratri. The online registration system was also not working and the chaos increased. We could not have taken action against the devotees as it is a matter of faith,” according to Mathura District Magistrate, Sarvagya Ram Mishra,
Devotees from far off places like Chandigarh, Gujarat, Delhi, Maharashtra and Rajasthan had reached Mathura for ‘darshan’ on Saturday.
A senior police officer said once the online registration system is in place, it will be easy to control the crowd.
“Then the temple officials can allow only those who have confirmation of a particular slot for darshan,” he said.