Dubai: The Hindu temple in Bur Dubai will not carry a dynamic celebration of the forthcoming Maha Shivratri festival to limit the spread of coronavirus. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the administration of the Gurudarbar Sindhi Temple has notified devotees not to visit the temple premises to observe the festival endured in honor of the Hindu deity Lord Shiva.
In a report issued on Sunday, the administration said it has determined to hold the temple doors shut on Maha Shivratri which comes on Friday, March 12, in connection with the COVID-19 protocols, and as a proactive step for the protection of all devotees. Currently, the temple is open only for an hour every day. “The temple opens for half an hour in the morning and half an hour in the evening for conducting puja,” a temple trustee told.
Shivratri is the most significant festival observed in the temple and it managed to be thronged by 50,000 to 60,000 devotees from as early as the break of the morning on the day every year before the pandemic caught. Though the officials have not yet published an order to withdraw the celebrations, the temple management said it decided to do accordingly out of an excess of caution and care.“We don’t want thousands of people to gather and cause concerns about the spread of the virus. Hence, we decided to close the temple for celebrations by the public as a precautionary measure from our side to ensure the safety and security of the community,” the trustee said.
Last year, there was a fire on the premises of the temple’s complex just a few days before the Shivratri festival. Two shops were destroyed in the fire due to a short circuit that drove the temple to close for a day. However, the temple’s bases were not hit and it opened the next day. Interpreting to ‘the greatest night of Shiva,’ Maha Shivratri is one of the most grandly celebrated festivals by Hindus in India and other nations. It is considered that Lord Shiva plays the heavenly dance and it also indicates the occasion of his marriage with Goddess Parvati.“This is one of the busiest days of the year at the temple, after important days like New year and Diwali. The management has urged all devotees to stay safe and perform pujas at home, to prevent the spread of the virus,” said the trustee.
“We are all responsible to ensure safety measures are adhered to. As Maha Shivratri represents ‘overcoming darkness and ignorance,’ we hope this festival will be the beginning of overcoming the darkness of the pandemic.”To permit believers to seek blessings on a spiritual day, the temple has also organized a virtual ‘darshan’ [beholding] of the god. Devotees can visit the YouTube channel ‘Hindu Temple Dubai’ to see the live streaming on that day.
The trustee said a judgment would be taken later about celebrating Holi, another significant Hindu festival, which is also famous as the festival of colors. Holi is coming on March 28 this year. Holi celebrations in Dubai have been recognized for non-Indians combining Indian ex-pats in public venues to splash color powders and watercolor on each other during the festivities.“We will see the situation and take a call on Holi closer to the festival,” the trustee added. The Holi celebrations were cancelled due to the pandemic last year.