Places of worship have opened in the city much to the relief of the faithful, however, posing a whole set of new challenges in terms of coping with government Covid guidelines. Pune readers share their experience so far.
Namaz in a public space only after vaccine
My father used to offer namaz at our local mosque along with my brother on a regular basis before the lockdown. Once the lockdown was announced, that stopped and he started giving azaan from our balcony and praying in the house. My husband also offers namaz at home. We are not yet sure if it is a good idea to offer namaz in a public space. Maybe when the vaccine is available, we might go back to the previous ways but not before that.
Not visiting temple anytime soon
I’m a resident of Satara and I used to travel to Ekmukhi Datta Mandir Narayanpur on almost every single Thursday. I used to do this since my children were born over two decades ago, in 1992. If the weather was good, I’d take a two-wheeler or else I would go in a bus. But I did pay my respects at least a couple of times every month. Since the lockdown, however, it has stopped completely and even now, I do not see myself going back anytime soon mainly because my family is opposed to it. When regular buses begin, I will consider going because winter has started and I need to change buses to reach the temple.
Prefer online pooja, dakshina
Once the restrictions were lifted, my husband and I went to our local Shiva temple in Chinchwad. We were glad to observe that the guidelines of social distancing were being followed. The pandits and other devotees too were wearing masks. A sanitizer was provided. We plan to visit the temple regularly in the future, with the necessary precautions. However, a new facility is being provided now which is virtual pooja. We sponsor the necessary funds to the temple’s account – and the pandit performs the pooja while we attend it on a video call. The Dakshina is also accepted online.
Going to temple not worth the risk
The temple close to my house is now open; it has only been a few days. I was a daily visitor before the lockdown, but I do not think going to the temple is worth the risk as I have elderly parents in the house. I am sure they are taking necessary precautions to keep temple visitors safe, but I will still wait for things to settle down.
Ensured fewer church-goers through Whatsapp group
For our last Sunday mass, we planned the number of visitors by coordinating on our WhatsApp group. We restricted the number to only 35. Everyone from the church was satisfied by the arrangement and we plan to go ahead with this for the next few months. The turnout was not as it used to be before.
Devotees are self-aware to take precaution
In Jain temples, everybody is required to compulsorily wear a mask. The devotees are not allowed to get any kind of fruits, flowers or rice. A limited number of devotees are allowed inside and once their prayers are over then the next batch is sent in. The best part is that people are self-aware and everybody is taking their own protection and ensuring the compliance of others. So if somebody forgets a mask, people point out to them and ensure that they wear a mask or do not enter the premises without a mask.
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