Shimla, Oct 17 : Amid the fears of Covid-19 pandemic, thousands of devotees on Saturday thronged temples in Himachal Pradesh to mark the onset of the eight-day-long 'Navratri', considered an auspicious period by the Hindus.
Necessary arrangements have been made for the smooth conduct of the festival and to prevent the coronavirus spread, Jeewan Kumar, an official at the Chintpurni shrine in Una district, told IANS over phone.
He said the temple would be open for the devotees daily from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m.
He said they are expecting over 15,000-20,000 people every day.
Also drawing thousands of devotees are the Naina Devi temple in Bilaspur district, Jwalaji and Chamunda Devi temples in Kangra district, Baba Balak Nath temple in Hamirpur district, and Bhimakali and Hateshwari temples in Shimla district.
Security has been beefed up and closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras have been installed to manage the crowd in all the prominent shrines, a senior police official told IANS.
The temples in the state were reopened on September 10 after almost six months of closure owing to the coronavirus outbreak.
The government advised to avoid mass gatherings and ensure people above 65, those with comorbid conditions, pregnant women and children below 10 not to visit the temples.
The interstate movement has already been lifted.
For those who can't visit the temple, the government has advised them to watch online live "darshan" of the Brajeshwari Devi, Naina Devi, Chintpurni and Jwalaji temples. They would also be able to offer online offerings.
Also the famous shrine Mata Chintpurni in July launched the home delivery of "prasad bhog" through India Post.