Tribune News Service
Panchkula, October 17
Under the shadow of Covid-19, as many as 16,106 devotees thronged the Mansa Devi temple here on the first day of the Navratri fest today, said MS Yadav, CEO of Mansa Devi Trust. It was much above the limit of 11,000 per day pilgrimage fixed by the temple administration in view of the pandemic. The Kali Mata temple in Kalka saw a footfall of 4,490 on the first day of Ashwin Navratra.
Officials, including police personnel, had a tough time making people maintain social distancing. Tight security arrangements in and around the temple have been made by the police.
Even both temples saw a significant rise in the first day donations of cash, gold and silver during Ashwin Navratri compared to last year.
The Mansa Devi shrine received Rs 18.5 lakh as cash donations while Rs 5.25 lakh was offered at the Kali Mata temple. It is Rs 11.45 lakh more than what both temples had received in 2019 on the first day of Navratri.
A gold piece (weighing 10.572 gm) and 17 silver items (weighing 638.397 gm) were also offered at the Mansa Devi shrine. The shrine, however, received no foreign currency on the first day of festival.
The nine-day fest began amid Covid-19 precautions.
Haryana Speaker and local MLA Gian Chand Gupta, who visited the temple around 9.15 am, participated in the ‘Corona mukti hawan’ to ward off the pandemic.
Marginal rise in
Even though the footfall came down drastically compared to the previous years, the temple witnessed a marginal rise in online donations.
175 tests conducted
A team of the Heath Department conducted rapid antigen tests on 175 devotees on the first day of Navratri. All of them came out negative. The Civil Surgeon, Dr Jasjeet Kaur, said of 1,060 samples taken at the Mansa Devi temple to date, only two persons had tested positive.
Ban on prasad, vendors bear the brunt
Shopkeepers and prasad vendors, who would eagerly wait for Navratri fest in normal circumstances, are still praying for their ‘achhe din’ (better days) due to a blanket ban on offering of flowers and prasad at the temple.
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