Kathmandu : The Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu has been shut down for devotees from today due to the growing risk of a new variant of COVID-19.
According to the Pashupati Area Development Trust (PADT), the revered Hindu holy shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva has been closed for the public until further notice. Pashupatinath Temple as well as other shrines in the premises such as Guhyeshwari and Chandrabinayak among others were drawing large gatherings of the devotees lately, posing a threat of transmission of COVID-19.
PADT’s executive director Dr Ghanashyam Khatiwada told Rastriya Samachar Samiti (RSS) that the regular worship, aarati among others will continue in these shrines during this period adhering to health safety measures. All other services in the Pashupatinath Temple such as special puja, hymn singing and other rituals have been closed as per the decision of the government to prevent and control the spread of COVID-19, the PADT said.
The Pashupatinath Temple was closed for devotees towards the last of March 2020 when the first wave of COVID-19 hit. The temple was reopened after nine months, towards mid of December 2020 and devotees as well as temple authorities were subject to adherence to health safety protocols against the deadly infection. When the second wave hit last of April, the temple authorities again closed the Temple owing to the risk of the Delta variant of COVID-19.
The Temple was reopened after nearly five months as the number of COVID-19 cases began to decline in the country. Now the Omicron variant of COVID-19 has become pervasive, the PADT decided to close the Pashupatinath Temple for the devotees indefinitely. —