Assam: Despite relaxation, Kamakhya Temple to remain closed till June 30

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Guwahati: All religious places of worship in Assam opened their doors on Monday amid the easing of nationwide lockdown restrictions, which were imposed on March 25 to contain the spread of the raging coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak.

However, Kamakhya Temple, the oldest and most sacred Hindu shakti peeth located in Guwahati, is still shut.

The temple trust authorities have decided to keep it shut in a bid to prevent the spread of the viral outbreak in view of the upcoming Ambubachi Mela, slated to be held between June 22 and 26 this year, as it attracts lakhs of devotees from India and neighbouring countries. The congregation at the Ambubachi Mela would not be held this year, they said.

“The shrine was shut on March 20 following the government directives, and it’ll remain off-limits for devotees at least till June 30,” said Kabindra Prasad Sarma, chief priest (junior), Kamakhya Temple.

“If the Covid-19 outbreak shows any sign of improvement in Assam, the temple may be opened from July. Else, it’ll continue to remain shut beyond June 30,” he added.

Located on Nilachal Hill in Guwahati, Kamakhya Temple is considered the most sacred and oldest of the 51 shakti peeths of Hinduism. It is the centre of the tantrik cult in the country, and on an average, nearly 3,000 devotees visit the temple daily.

Ambubachi Mela is the biggest annual religious congregation in the north-east. It is held every year in June, when the revered Goddess Kamakhya is said to have her annual menstrual cycle, and the temple remains closed during those three days.

“This year, the mela was to be held from June 22 to June 26. Nearly 25 lakh devotees from across the country and neighbouring Bangladesh and Nepal visited the shrine during Ambubachi Mela last year,” said Sarma.

“We’ve decided to keep the temple shut, as the Ambubachi Mela could have led to a massive congregation and a violation of the social distancing norms amid the pandemic,” he added.

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