Vijayawada: The Andhra Pradesh government is planning to close all major, medium and small temples for some time to check the spread of the Coronavirus in the state.
There are nearly 1,074 major temples in the state including the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams located in Tirupati, as also about 2,000 medium temples and hundreds of small temples. In the second wave of Covid-19, the number of devotees visiting the temples has drastically come down. This has resulted in a fall in the hundi collections, which would seriously affect the payment of monthly salaries to the temple staff.
The endowments department is planning to close these temples for a few days so as to break the chain of the virus spread.
Officials say the Lord Venkateswara temple in Tirupati was closed for a few months when the Covid-19 pandemic broke out last year. This was from March to July, 2020. Now, based on the recommendation of the state government, the TTD trust board will take a decision on closure of the temple.
Endowments principal secretary G. Vani Mohan said, “We have written to the state government on closure of all major, medium and small temples in the state for a few months. As devotees from several places visit the temples to offer prayers and perform rituals, it might lead to a spread of the pandemic. We want to protect the health of all people.”
The state government plans to close all archaeologically significant museums, forts and monuments shortly. The Centre has given such a direction to the state. There are 13 museums, 10 forts and nearly 264 monuments in the state. “The state archaeological department has written to the government on their plan for a closure. Consent from the state government is awaited,” officials said.