Muted Janmashtami celebrations at Delhi temples
Delhi will see muted Janmashtami celebrations this year with devotees not being allowed to visit religious places as part of the preventive measures to curb the spread of COVID-19. Notably, in order to prevent a surge in the number of COVID-19 cases, the Delhi Police had requested people on Sunday not to visit temples and to celebrate Janmashtami at home.
Temples across Delhi are only focusing on performing the rituals
Moreover, in the absence of any visitors, religious places, including the Kalkaji temple, the Chhatarpur temple, and the Birla Mandir, have scaled down the celebrations in terms of programs and decorations, focusing only on the rituals that mark the birth of the Hindu god Krishna.
'Bhajans,' 'Kirtans' will not happen this time: Temple priest
The decoration and lighting at the Kalkaji temple are not very different from the pre-pandemic times, but Surendra Nath, the temple's chief priest, said that the lack of devotees completely alters the spirit of the festival. "Earlier we used to have bhajans and kirtans throughout the day for the devotees. That will not happen this time," he said.
Urge government to allow temples to open for public: Nath
"We urge the government to allow temples to open for the public, especially when everything else in the city has reopened. So many festivals have passed like this. Shivratri, now Janmashthami. We just hope upcoming Navratris are not celebrated in the same manner," he said.
Only priests will attend celebrations at Kalkaji temple
The rituals at the temple that used to host thousands of visitors on Janmashtami will only be attended by the priests. The arrangements at the Chhatarpur temple are not very different. The festival that used to witness a footfall of almost two lakh people will be celebrated this year in the presence of a handful of individuals, including the temple trustees and priests.
Have tried to keep celebrations similar to pre-pandemic times: Chawla
"We have tried to keep the celebrations as similar as possible to the ones before the COVID-19 pandemic. The temple has been lit up, and a silver swing and gold ornaments have been arranged for the deity," CEO of the Chattarpur temple Kishor Chawla said.
Birla Mandir has decided to live stream the rituals
Moreover, Chawla added that the main Janmashtami rituals will begin at around 11:30 pm on Monday and continue till 2:00 am on Tuesday. Meanwhile, to ensure that the devotees do not miss out on the celebrations, the Birla Mandir has decided to live-stream the rituals. The temple, however, has cut back on decoration.
Only area where idol is placed has been decorated: Chawla
"The facade of the temple will not be decorated. Only the area where the idol is placed has been decorated," he said. "We will have paath, bhajan, kirtan throughout the day that will be live-streamed on our Facebook page—Sri Birla Mandir. Around midnight, the maha Abhishek will happen, followed by the maha aarti," said Ram Gopal Shukla, media-uncharge, Birla Mandir.