Janmashtami 2020: Delhi welcomes Lord Krishna amidst pandemic

A sanitised ritual experience



August 13, 2020

/ By / New Delhi

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Even through the ongoing pandemic and fear of infections, the annual celebration of Janmashtami, witnessed enthusiasm among devotees in the national capital New Delhi. Janmashtami is celebrated to mark the birth of Lord Krishna, believed to be the eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu as per Hinduism.

Traditionally, to mark the auspicious occasion, people decorate cradles and place Krishna’s idol in it, while welcoming His arrival with sweets and savouries. Devotees visit temples late in the evening to offer prayers as Krishna is believed to have been born at midnight in a prison. Besides all-night worship, people also get to enjoy dance-dramas based on Krishna’s life and distribution of prasad and special food cooked to mark the occasion.

But due to restrictions on gatherings and difficulties in transport, the turnout at some key temples was lower, mainly because managements of large temples such as ISKCON in New Delhi had restricted the entry to only a handful of people. The impact of the pandemic could also be seen in smaller temples. Hitendar Sharma, a priest at Sanatan Dharma temple in Jangpura, south Delhi, says temples have been decorated as usual but devotees aren’t allowed to crowd the premises. People are allowed to watch the decoration and rituals only from a distance. As a result, the number of participants in the celebrations dropped by 95 pc this year. He goes on to say that the temple authorities have ensured essential precautionary measures like social distancing norms, wearing masks and using hand sanitisers are followed. But Sharma adds that the fear of Covid-19 has dampened the traditional enthusiasm with which this festival is normally celebrated.



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