Maha Astami Being Observed Today for Formality Only: The Impact of Coronavirus Pandemic:

October 24, 2020

The Ministry of Home Affairs had already issued a circular to all the 77 district administration offices not to allow the opening of the temples and shrines for the public during these festivals like Dashain, Tihar, New Bhintuna, Chhatha due to the growing cases of COVID-19. So, it compelled to observe Maha Ashtami, the eighth day of the 10-day Dashain festival today with only a few people and strict rules to worshipping Goddess Durga Bhawani.

Today, specifically the Hindus, offer special worships to the goddess Mahakali, Mahalaxmi and Maha Saraswati. According to the myth, on this day, Goddess Durga attains power and becomes more powerful. During this occasion, pilgrims visit various Dashain Ghars and armouries to perform puja and offer animal sacrifices. This day is also significant for worshipping the weapon, vehicle and machines. Devotees would visit the Goddess Durga’s temples across the country and pay homage as they believe Goddess Durga fulfils wishes. But this year, Maha Ashtami celebration got different way as almost all temples across the country have remained closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

During this time, especially, the temple of Goddess Durga as Dakshinkali, Guheshowri, Kalikasthan, Maitidevi, Naxal Bhagawati, Bhadrakali, Naradevi, Bijeshwori was supposed to be visited like previous years in Kathmandu valley. Similarly, the Gorakhkali and Manakamana Temple in Gorkha district, Pathivara in Taplejung, Chhinamasta in Saptari, Gahawamai in Birgunj, Parsa; Gadhimai in Bara, Nuwakot Bhairabhi in Nuwakot, Shaileshwori in Doti, Palanchok Bhagawati in Kavrepalanchowk; Nala Bhagawati, Chandeshwari in Banepa, Kavrepalanchowk, Bindhyabasini in Pokhara, Kalika Bhagawati in Baglung, Dantakali in Dharan, Sunsari; Ugratara in Dadeldhura, Siddhakali in Bhojpur, Shaileshwari and other temples were supposed to have a huge crowd but unfortunately those all temples remain closed for the public. For the formality and ritual continuation, the priest will carry all worship in the temple.

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