Visakhapatnam: The Simhachalam temple closed the sanctum sanctorum for an indefinite period due to the surge of Coronavirus cases in the state and across the country. An order in this regard came into effect from Sunday.
As part of the closure orders, the temple authorities stopped the Astottara Satanam Archana and Ati Sheegra Darshan. However, Swarna Pushparchana and Sahasranamarchana with a limited number of priests and people would continue in the inner temple.
Hereafter the devotees would be allowed only up to the Bhogamandalam, the order said. The temple authorities said the number of devotees visiting the temple has increased and proportionately the positive cases were also going up. Temple priests and staff getting infected would hamper the services to the deity, they said. As the cases reduced in the last winter, the priest stopped wearing masks as it was affecting the reciting of vedic hymns.
Endowment officials said they would follow the Covid-19 protocols strictly and will not allow devotees without masks and sanitisation.
The authorities are yet to take a decision on the conduct of ensuing famous festivals that are held annually in the temple....