Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, religious places reopened across Himachal Pradesh as part of Unlock 4 on Thursday.
People have started reaching temples this morning. Local residents and tourists visited the Hanuman Jakhu Temple, located at an altitude of over 8,000 feet above sea level, here at the top of Shimla city.
However, the Christ Church in Shimla wore a deserted look.
Devotees were enthusiastic to visit the temple. One of the elderly local SS Yadav, who had been visiting the temple on a regular basis for over 47 years, gets emotional after the gates of Jakhu temple were opened. Yadav said that he is visiting the temple after about a long time.
Sandeep Singh, visitors from Delhi said that a week ago, outsiders were not permitted to enter the temple. "But now, we are glad to see the gates of the temples are open. We are fortunate to visit the temple on the first day of reopening," Singh said.
Priest of Hanuman Jakhu Temple, BP Sharma said, "I have never seen the gates of the temple closed in the last 30 years."
"Today, with the blessing of deity and God, I am hopeful that COVID will be ended soon," said Sharma. He has appealed people to follow the health protocols.
Hundreds of people are involved in business associated with the temple and other religious activities. Sandeep Kumar who runs a canteen at Jakhu Hanuman Temple expressed gratitude to the district administration for reopening the temples.
Kumar said, "There are over 1,500 people employed directly or indirectly in the Jakhu temple and are expecting to have a good business in the coming time."
There are over 4,400 religious places across 12 districts of the state in both rural and urban areas. These religious places include over 4,000 small and big temples in the state. All these religious places have reopened for the public starting today.
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