Ambubachi Mela
Ambubachi Mela . Image Source: IANS News

Guwahati, April 23 : To check the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, the five-day annual "Ambubachi Mela" at the centuries old historic Kamakhya Temple in Guwahati would not be held this year, the temple authority announced on Thursday.

The famed religious congregation was scheduled to be organised from June 22-26 at the Kamakhya Temple, which was rebuilt in 1565 by Koch king Naranarayana.

According to the temple authorities, every year, the fair draws lakhs of people from across the country and abroad with over 4.50 lakh people congregating on the occasion last year.

Announcing the decision, the Maa Kamakhya Devalaya said in a statement on Thursday that only the rituals and prayers associated with the festival would be performed by the priests this year.

"Devotees, pilgrims, tourists, sadhus and others would not be allowed to enter or stay in the premises of the Shakti Peeth atop the Nilachal Hills here," the statement said.

The temple authorities also asked the concerned authorities not to book any accommodation for the devotees.

"With a heavy heart, we have taken the tough decision keeping in mind the coronavirus pandemic. We have decided not to organise the annual 'Ambubachi Mela' considering the possibility of spreading the Covid-19 infection even if the lockdown is to be eased after May 3," Kabindra Sarma, a senior temple priest, said.

He added: "The Ambubachi Mela would not be held for the first time in six centuries, but priests of the temple would perform the rituals internally, maintaining social distancing norms."

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