HYDERABAD: Strict Covid-19 preventive measures will be in place for Maha Sivaratri festival at Keesaragutta on city outskirts, with up to two lakh devotees expected to visit Sri Ramalingeswara Swamy Temple atop the hill from Thursday morning to Saturday morning.
Speaking to Deccan Chronicle, Katta Sudhakar Reddy, executive officer of the temple, maintained that the temple management committee will strictly follow Covid-19 norms. “We have set up special healthcare stalls that will operate round the clock on these days. Some ambulances will be on standby. The number of prasadam counters has been increased to avoid crowding,” he stated.
“Five hundred sanitation staff will ensure cleanliness while 1,800 police personnel will ensure vigil including social distancing,” he maintained.
The biggest gathering of pilgrims in the state for Maha Sivaratri is expected at Sri Raja Rajeswara Swamy temple in Vemulavada town, where six lakh to eight lakh devotees are expected from the two Telugu states, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh.
Vemulawada temple authorities have ordered one lakh cloth masks and deployed 2,000 police personnel and an equal number of sanitation workers.
Temple’s public relations officer Upadyalu Chandrasekhar said, “Temple receives ‘pattu vastrams’ from Tirumala Tirupati Devasthams for the deity on Maha Sivaratri. We are expecting three lakh devotees on Thursday itself. Department of Culture is organising 33 different programmes that visitors can witness. Arrangements have been made for distribution of four lakh laddus as prasadam.”
TSRTC is pressing into service around 1,200 special bus services to various temple towns with Shiva temples.
Brahama Kumaris, who are devotees of Lord Shiva, are also organising several programmers in the twin cities on the occasion, “Amarnath Yatra”, along with “12 Jyothirlinga darshan” will be there at Beeramguda, Kesara, Chilkur and Maredpally.