Gorakhpur (UP), Mar 27 (PTI) Amid a nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus, devotees here practiced caution and chose to skip Navratri 'aarti' and Friday prayers at temples and mosques.
Special prayers were offered to goddess Durga at the Gorakhnath temple here by chief priest Kamalnath on Friday with only a few students from a school within the shrine complex in attendance.
No outsiders attended the Navratri prayers at the temple which is usually teeming with devotees during festivals.
'On a normal day, a huge number of people would attend the Durga 'aarti', but this year it was performed with only five-seven Sanskrit Vidyalaya students due to the coronavirus threat,' a temple staffer, Vinay Gautam, said.
People also stayed away from mosques.
Most mosques saw management members offer the Friday prayers while following social distancing.
Imam of Jama Masjid here had on Thursday appealed to people to stay indoors during the lockdown.
He said 'Juma namaz' could also be offered with just three people.
Following his appeal, Muslims offered prayers at home on Friday.
'We are facing a pandemic and following the rules is very important to combat the deadly virus. I offered Namaz at home and prayed for the health of my countrymen.
'I have never seen a situation like this in my entire life,' said 60-year-old Zakir Khan of Jafra Bazar area.
'Only five to seven people, including the imams and members of mosque managements offered Juma Namaz at mosques. In Shariyat this is known as 'Ehtiyati Tadbeer',' he said.
The total number of coronavirus cases in the country rose to 724 on Friday. Till Thursday, Uttar Pradesh had reported 41 COVID-19 cases, according to the Union Health Ministry. PTI CORR ABN DIV DIV