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Not more than 15,000 devotees will be allowed to enter Maharashtra's Saibaba temple in Shirdi from October 7 onward--the Day 1 of the Navratri festival. In a meeting of Ahmednagar district administration, the management of Shri Saibaba Sansthan Trust chalked out measures to allow devotees into the temple premises. The Temple management stated that at least 15,000 devotees who possess online passes would be allowed to take darshan at the temple on a daily basis. The entry of children below 10 years, pregnant women, sick people, senior citizens above the age of 65, and people without masks have been prohibited. Besides, the prasad counter at the temple will remain closed.

Shirdi Sai Baba temple reopens tomorrow: Detailed guidelines for devotees

  • A maximum of 15,000 devotees is to be allowed in the Shirdi Sai Baba temple daily. 
  • The temple is issuing 5,000 paid passes, 5,000 online passes, and 5,000 offline passes for the devotees. 
  • No more than 1,150 devotees will be allowed to be inside the temple premises at any hour.
  • During the aarti, maximum of 90 people will be allowed inside the temple
  • The temple administration has fixed entry from entrance number 2, while exit will be facilitated through exit gates numbers 4 and 5. 
  • The Dhyan Mandir and Parayan Kaksh will remain closed.

Several other temples have issued guidelines for the devotees as the state gears up to reopen all worship places in view of the Navratri festival. On Wednesday, the Shree Siddhivinayak Ganapati Temple Trust asked devotees to book their entry on the temple's Trust application before visiting the temple. The Siddhivinayak temple will only allow entry to 250 devotees every hour.

In the Mumba Devi temple, only fully vaccinated devotees are allowed to enter temple premises. While the unvaccinated devotees will have to show a Covid-19 negative certificate.

Meanwhile, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has issued an order capping the number of visitors to places of worship to 50% of the total capacity. The civic body has banned Garba celebration because of the fear of the Covid-19 third wave. Additionally, it has capped the height of Goddess Durga idols to four feet for community mandals and two feet for household ones. Further, Mandals should arrange an online darshan of idols to avoid crowding and use Facebook and other social media platforms to reach out to devotees, it said. At the time of 'aarti' (a ritual of worship), not more than 10 people should be present at the venue and they should follow coronavirus guidelines like wearing face masks and maintaining social distancing, the civic body added. Immersion of household idols should be done at homes by devotees if it is not possible for them to go to the nearest immersion point.

Last month, the Maharashtra government announced the reopening of all religious places. State's Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray urged people not to drop guard and continue COVID-19-appropriate behaviour.

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