The Kali temple in Dakshineswar will remain shut on the morning of Mahalaya, October 6, to avoid congregations at the shrine of those who will gather at the three adjacent ghats to perform tarpan.
Belur Math, the global headquarters of the Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission, too, will remain shut on Mahalaya.
“We have decided to keep Belur Math shut to visitors on the occasion of Mahalaya, Durga Puja and Chhath Puja,” said Swami Suvirananda, general secretary of the Math and Mission.
“We hope our devotees and others will understand the times we are in and cooperate with us.”
Public health experts have been urging people to avoid gatherings as a precaution against Covid.
Barring the days mentioned by Swami Suvirananda, Belur Math will remain open to visitors from 8am to 11am, and again from 3.30pm to 5pm.
Visitors need to show their Covid vaccination certificates and identity proofs to gain entry into the Math premises.
Thousands of people usually turn up at the ghats adjacent to the Dakshineswar temple to perform tarpan on Mahalaya, which marks the end of Pitri Paksha and coincides with the beginning of Devi Paksha.
“This year the temple will remain shut on Mahalaya from the morning till 3.30pm,” said Kushal Chowdhury, secretary of the Dakshineswar Kali Temple and Debottar Estate.
By rough estimates, over 45,000 devotees will gather at the three ghats — Chandni ghat, Sree Ma ghat and Ferry ghat — to perform the ritual. In the pre-pandemic times, they would head to the temple from the ghats.
Last year, the various ghats of the Hooghly had witnessed a huge turnout on the occasion of Mahalaya.
“We are in the process of finalising the deployment plan for all ghats on the occasion of Mahalaya and how to channelise those turning up to perform the ritual,” said a senior police officer at Lalbazar.