With small temples in the city opening doors to devotees on the occasion of Vinayakar Chaturthi on Friday, social distancing norms went for a toss at some places even as the residents expressed disappointment over the lack of permission to immerse Ganesha statues in water bodies.
With huge crowd thronging Vallabha Ganapathy temple at West Mambalam, the main door of the temple was closed and devotees were requested to pray through the window to maintain social distancing.
However, the crowd was far less compared to previous years with restrictions imposed by the State government in place in the wake of the COVID threat. “Usually, during Vinayakar Chathurti, the temple will be crowded and it would be difficult to manage devotees. But this year, due to the COVID scare and restrictions, there was no crowd at the temple from the morning. Also, very few came to leave their Ganesha idols,” said Siva Krishna, a priest at a Vinayakar temple at Tollgate. “And only those wearing face masks were allowed inside the temple. Since there were fewer devotees, we performed archanais but people were not permitted to sit inside,” he added.
However, devotees expressed disappointment over the lack of permission to immerse idols in the sea and other water bodies. Devotees were told to leave idols at the nearest temple where they will be collected by the respected officials who will get them immersed in the sea.
“Immersing of the idols after offering prayer at home is a part of the ritual done on this auspicious day. With curbs in place, this year we offered prayers at our house itself and didn’t visit the temples as the COVID cases are also increasing marginally since last week,” said Srilekha J, a resident of Ayapakkam.