The Siddhivinayak Temple, one of the most visited shrines in Mumbai, will remain closed for devotees till further notice in view of the coronavirus outbreak in Maharashtra, it was announced on Monday. The Siddhivinayak Temple in Prabhadevi, dedicated to Lord Ganesh, attracts hundreds of devotees every day and is especially crowded on Tuesdays.
The decision comes in the backdrop of the Maharashtra government appealing to people to avoid crowding and mass gatherings as part of preventive measures to curb the spread of the viral infection.
For the first time in 25 years of visiting the temple every Tuesday, director Madhur Bhandarkar prayed from outside amid Coronavirus pandemic. Bhandarkar took to his Twitter handle and shared a beautiful picture of the temple and said that he is in favour of temple closing its doors amid COVID-19.
First time in 25 yrs on my Tuesday weekly visit ,I did darshan from outside the #SiddhinayakTemple However its best in the interest of people to contain the spread of #COVID19 virus. Prayers for all.🙏 pic.twitter.com/GcWWl0Ga86— Madhur Bhandarkar (@imbhandarkar) March 17, 2020
Siddhivinayak Temple trust chairman Adesh Bandekar said the number of coronavirus cases is increasing rapidly worldwide. "Thousands and lakhs of people come to the Siddhivinayak Temple to pay respect. In the current situation, it is our responsibility to deal with the crisis (coronavirus outbreak). "Hence, the trust has decided that the temple will be closed for worship until further notice," said Bandekar. Maharashtra has so far reported 37 positive cases of the novel coronavirus.
As of date, the total number of positive cases in India has risen to 148, as per the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Along with it, three deaths have been reported in Kalaburagi, West Delhi and Mumbai respectively. India has suspended all visas, barring for a few categories such as diplomatic and employment apart from keeping in abeyance the visa-free travel facility to OCI cardholders till April 15.
Moreover, the Centre has “strongly advised” Indians to avoid all non-essential travel abroad. The government is also monitoring all suspected cases and has issued preventive advisories. Earlier on Saturday, the Central Government decided to treat the deadly virus as a "notified disaster". Various state governments have issued their own advisories, ranging from work-from-home recommendations to closures of schools and colleges.
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