Guwahati: Assam's historic Kamakhya temple shall reopen for devotees in the first week of October and visitors shall have to mandatorily produce a COVID-19 negative certificate to be let in, Kabindra Sarma, the Doley (Head Priest) informed The Sentinel Digital on Friday.
Sarma said that the temple authorities have already begun the process to implement the district administration's guidelines, as per which a limited number of pilgrims will be let into the temple grounds at a time. The total number of visitors during a 24-hour period capped has been capped at 500.
"Al the precautions discussed during the meeting with the district administration that was convened on the 19th of this month will be taken once the temple reopens," Sarma informed. "We have expedited work for building separate holding areas for the devotees, the medical team, as well as police. A pandal is being built at the VIP parking area, where the devotees will sit. At a time, 20-25 persons shall be let into the temple to offer prayers."
Sarma also informed that for a person to be let into the grounds, he/she has to have tested COVID-19 negative. "We have made COVID-19 negative certificates compulsory for visitors. A person wishing to visit the temple must show the certificate that was issued during the last 3 days outside the entrance to the temple grounds, where a team shall be stationed. If one does not possess a certificate, he/she shall be subjected to a COVID-19 RT-PCR test, the results for which shall be available after 15 minutes."
"We will open the doors to the public from 7:30 am to 1:00 am; after that there will be a one hour gap for lunch, after which the process shall begin again," he further added. "On the day, we have set a target of facilitating 500 visitors. If we are left with a lot of time on our hands after that, we will think of increasing the number."
The Kamakhya temple is one of the 51 Shakti Peeths or holy sites across the country that is dedicated to Goddess Kamakhya or Sati. The 'garvagriha' or the temple's sanctum sanctorum houses the yoni — female genitalia — symbolized in the form of a rock.
The temple, which is thronged by thousands upon thousands of visitors each year, has been closed for visitors due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. The annual Ambubachi Mela -- usually held with a lot of fanfare -- was also held without any visitors due to the COVID.