The Amma Mandapam bathing ghat along the Cauvery river in Srirangam, which is a revered spot for holy dip on auspicious days, remained out of bounds for the public on Mahalaya Amavasya on Wednesday.
The bathing ghat receives hundreds of people from different parts of the State on Amavasai in the Tamil months of Aadi, Thai and Purattasi. They take a dip in the river and conduct rituals for their forefathers and ancestors.
On Wednesday, however, it was closed to the public as per the direction of the district administration to prevent large gatherings and check the spread of COVID-19. The entry to the bathing ghat, which falls under the jurisdiction of Srirangam police, was barricaded.
More than 100 police personnel were posted at Amma Mandapam. They turned away devotees who came to take a holy dip, causing dismay. Similarly, priests were also denied entry. Without priests and devotees, the bathing ghat looked deserted. Other paths leading to the Cauverywere also barricaded with police personnel deployed there to prevent public entry.
Devotees were denied permission to perform rituals at other places along the river near Tiruchi such as Tiruparaithurai, Kambarasampettai, Murungapettai and Mukkombu. However, a few devotees managed to sneak inside and perform rituals to their ancestors.
Some expressed their reservations on the denial of holy dip in the river on auspicious days. They said it was unfair to enforce a blanket ban on visiting temples on weekends and holy places when schools, colleges and markets were allowed to function.
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