Kathmandu [Nepal], December 16 (ANI): Hundreds of devotees flocked to the Pashupatinath Temple on Wednesday, after it reopened its gates following a hiatus of nine months due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The devotees prayed for an early end to the pandemic and return of normalcy in the Himalayan region.
Adhering to the public health protocol, the UNESCO World Heritage Site in Kathmandu opened from 6 am (local time) today with COVID-19 restrictions in place.
"I had waited on for long. I came back from abroad before the lockdown and had not got a chance to enter the temple. I am blessings those who made this possible, may god bless them and may Pashupatinath protect them," Padma Panta, one of the devotees who visited the temple earlier today, told ANI.
"I prayed to God to end the conflict, the defeat of the disease and normalcy," Panta added.
As it reopened its gates, several devotees from India also thronged the temple in the early hours.
"I am from Mumbai and my relatives reside here in Nepal. I am here at the temple to worship Lord Pashupatinath. I am feeling blessed to be able to worship at the temple. I had the desire to come here at some point of my life, which now has been fulfilled," said Ajay Sheshnath Tiwari, and Indian devotee to ANI after worshipping at the revered shrine in Kathmandu.
Officials at Pashupatinath Area Development Trust (PADT) said the temple has been reopened following health safety protocols issued by the Ministry of Health and Population.
"We have arranged only one line to enter and exit the temple. While going around the temple, there will not be any chance of one devotee touching the other. After observing the flow of people for a few days, we will bring some changes in the arrangements, that we have introduced today and would open other doors to enter the temple, while adhering to the safety protocols," Pradeep Dhakal, Member Secretary at PADT told ANI.
The PADT has not allowed large scale gatherings and other rituals to be performed in the temple premises in view of possible spread of the virus. (ANI)