The Deoghar district administration has sealed all entry points to stop the arrival of pilgrims and Kanwars’ (the saffron-clad Saivites) following a ban on the annual Shravan Mela – to be held from July 6 to August 3 – at the ancient Baba Baidyanath Temple, popularly known as Babadham, because of the raging coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak.
Seven check-posts have been set up at Andhrigadar, Dardmara, Dumma, Chaipa More, Hindolavaran, Bhirkhibad More and Kushmaha More in a bid to bar pilgrims and Kanwars’ entry to the district during the holy Hindu month of Shravan, when Lord Shiva is worshipped.
Over a lakh pilgrims and Kanwars’ visit Babadhan daily during the annual Shravan Mela to offer their prayers at the temple, one of 12 Jyotirlingas, or the most sacred abodes of Lord Shiva.
On Mondays in Shravan — the most auspicious day in the holy Hindu month — over 2.40 lakh pilgrims and Kanwars visit the shrine on average, the official record showed.
On Friday late afternoon, Deoghar deputy commissioner (DC) Nancy Sahay; superintendent of police (SP) Piyush Pandey; sub-divisional magistrate (SDM), Deoghar, Vishal Sagar; and other senior officials inspected all the seven check-posts in the district to ensure the ban on the entry of pilgrims and Kanwars to the temple town.
DC Sahay has ordered that all vehicles — whether bearing Jharkhand registration plates or other states — must be denied entry into the district.
The district authorities are also trying to create awareness about the viral outbreak and have put up posters and banners on Covid-19 along the 105-km-long Kanwar Path between neighbouring Bihar’s Bhagalpur district and Jharkhand’s Deoghar district.
“Public address systems have been installed at all the seven check-posts, where regular announcements are being made for pilgrims and Kanwars about the cancellation of this year’s Shravan Mela due to Covid-19 outbreak,” said a district official.
The temple has been shut since March 24, a day before nationwide lockdown restrictions were enforced to contain the pandemic.
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