COVID-19 fear spoils Janmashtami celebrations in Nepal

People offering prayers to Lord Krishna at the courtyard of Patan Durbar Square on Janmashtami. Photo/ANI

Lalitpur [Nepal], August 11 (ANI): Amid the COVID-19 pandemic the courtyard of Patan Durbar Square, which has Krishna Temple wore a deserted-like look on Janmashtami. However, some devotees were seen offering prayers outside the gates of the temple.
"Though the decision to shut the Krishna Temple's gates due to COVID-19 pandemic was good, I am sad as I couldn't go inside the temple to worship on this auspicious day," Sunita, a devotee, told ANI.
Krishna Janmashtami, a festival commemorating the birth of Lord Krishna, the eighth avatar of Lord Vishnu, draws thousands of devotees from Kathmandu valley. Krishna Temple, which once housed kings before the unification of Nepal in the middle 18th Century, is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The temple was opened after renovation in 2018 as it had sustained minor damages due to a devastating earthquake in 2015, which claimed thousands of lives and caused massive structural damage to the heritage sites of the Himalayan nation.
Within three years of its opening, the temple was again closed for public due to the COVID-19 pandemic, thus, forcing devotees to pray outside the temple.
"Unlike other years, this year due to the pandemic we couldn't worship to Lord Krishna inside the temple," Shanta Dhungel, another devotee said.
The 21 gajur (pinnacle) Shikhara Style temple in Patan was built in 1667 during the reign of King Siddhi Narasimha Malla. It is one of the most revered Krishna temples in Nepal. The three-storied stone-made-shrine houses the idols of Radha Krishna and Rukmini on the first floor, Lord Shiva on the second floor and Lokeshwor/ Machhendranath/Avalokiteshvara on the top floor. (ANI)

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