Coronavirus outbreak: After Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam has announced several measures to minimize pilgrims’ rush at the shrine, it is now the turn of Kerala’s iconic Guruvayur temple to follow suit. Now Guruvayur Devaswom authorities have opted scale down its ongoing annual ‘utsavam’ celebrations. Considering the government directive to cut down on big gatherings and festivities in all places, the temple authorities are now ready to take a muted approach to the festivities related to the annual festival. Only the essential rituals associated with the Guruvayur temple ‘utsavam’ is to be observed. More importantly, large gatherings and festivities are to be strictly avoided.
So, what are the big changes that pilgrims flocking to attend the Guruvayur temple festival can expect this year?
Given the severity of the COVID-19 outbreak, the temple authorities have decided to suspend all cultural programmes this time. Indeed, a big decision as most participants would have spent months of hard work, practice and effort to gear up for the prestigious temple festivities and to showcase their talent before the presiding deity of Guruvayur temple.
For weddings and other family-related functions such as ‘chorunnu’ and other offerings that are being conducted in the premises, the Devaswom chairman has appealed to devotees to reduce the number of people they bring with them as part of the gathering so as to maintain social distance.
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Both the ‘prasadam ootu’ and ‘pakarcha’ at the Guruvayur temple also stand suspended. For those who are unfamiliar with these temple customs at Kerala’s iconic Lord Krishna temple, it simply refers to suspending the distribution of prasad among the hundreds and thousands of devotees who throng to the shrine for daily darshan and also for the families of those associated with the temple.
Further, the admission to the iconic temple’s ‘Annakotta’ has also been banned till March 31st.
While these changes may seem like a dampener, it is essential for pilgrims to adhere to these changes for their own safety and well being.