Siddhivinayak Temple to Allow 1,000 Devotees Beginning Monday as Religious Places in Maharashtra Set to Reopen

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Mumbai: Only 1,000 devotees will be allowed inside famous Siddhivinayak temple in Mumbai every day beginning Monday in staggered time slots to be booked through a mobile phone application, its chairman Aadesh Bandekar said on Sunday. Religious places in Maharashtra, which have been shut since a COVID-19 lockdown was imposed in March, are set to reopen from Monday during ongoing Diwali festival.

The Siddhivinayak Temple Trust has prepared a mobile application through which devotees can book their appointments for darshan beginning Monday, Bandekar told reporters. "Devotees will have to download 'Shri Siddhivinayak temple' application on their mobile phones to book slot for darshan. They will need to fill in their details and book an appointment, following which a QR code will be generated with a time slot. QR codes for 1,000 people will be generated during the day," he said Bandekar said devotees will have to put the QR code into the scanner at the temple. "They will be allowed inside after undergoing mandatory checks," he added.

"The access barrier will open only if a visiting devotee's body temperature is normal and he/she is wearing a mask," he said. To start with, 100 people will be allowed inside the temple every hour except during 'aarti' and 'puja' rituals.

Bandekar appealed to senior citizens to avail darshan of Lord Ganesh on the mobile app until the COVID-19 situation returns to normalcy. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday announced that places of religious worship will reopen from Monday.

As per the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) released by the state government, religious places located out of COVID-19 containment zones will be allowed to remain open as per the timings decided by authorities, and devotees will be allowed inside in a staggered manner. Mumbai's tally of COVID-19 infections stood at 2,69,130 as on November 14, as per the city civic body.

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