After staff and priests of the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram tested positive for coronavirus, the temple has been closed for devotees. “For now, the temple will remain closed to devotees for 15 days and a further decision will be taken later,” an official from the temple executive office told TNM. The COVID-19 duty officer in charge of the temple confirmed that ten staff members and priests tested positive over three days. This includes three security guards, two keelshanthis (priests), one official working as an assistant in the temple’s Sreekaryam office, three members of the Dasar section who takes care of cleaning lamps and other affairs of the temple. Apart from this one of the main priests or Nambi in the temple also tested positive.
Even as the temple is closed to devotees, care will be taken to continue the daily rituals and poojas. Reports added that the temple head priest Tharanallur Satheesan Namboodiripad has taken over rituals and the daily functioning of the Padmanabhaswamy temple. The temple will also be run with a minimum number of staff.
In July, Kerala followed the Centre’s guidelines to reopening places of worship in the state. The Padmanabhaswamy temple opened to devotees on August 26, and the temple allowed devotees to pray between 8 am to 11 am in the morning and 5 pm till Deeparadhana in the evening. Devotees were also asked to register on the Padmanabhaswamy temple website and have a copy of the registration form and Aadhar card when they visited the temple.
The temple also adhered to COVID-19 rules allowing a maximum of 35 persons inside the shrine at a point of time with only 665 visitors allowed inside the temple per day. Floor markings had also been made for devotees to ensure social distancing is maintained. As per reverse quarantine norms, the temple has also banned those above 60 years of age and children below ten years.