New Delhi [India], Mar 25 : As the country remains under complete lockdown, the nine-day-long festival of 'Navratri' festival will not be as grand as each year but the lull has failed to dampen the spirit of devotees.
Owing to the nationwide shutdown, all temples of the country starting from the holiest shrine Vaishno Devi in the extreme north to Rameswaram's Ramanathaswami Temple in southern India, have worn a deserted look.
Delhi's most famous temples - Jhandewalan and Kalkaji - that once experienced a rush of devotees are closed which is why devotees are conducting rituals in their houses to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
A devotee, Maya Devi, belonging to New Delhi spoke to about the condition and said, "I am 65 years old and this is probably the first time that I am not able to visit my Maata (goddess) on Navratri."
"Every year we used to visit Connaught Place's Kali Bari temple to offer prayers and seek maata ra's blessings but this time my children are asking me to stay home and temples are also shut due to this new disease (coronavirus)," she added.
Another devotee, Kamala Pandey, said that her usual Navratri ritual was to visit the nearby temple and offer prayers to the goddess but this time she worshipped the goddess from outside of the temple.
"I have this routine of visiting the temple on all nine days of Navratri and I will do that even if I have to pray from the outside. Even in these hard times my reverence and devotion for maata will not fade," said the 55-year-old devotee.
"Navratri is the biggest festival for me, I wait for it every six months, I will try my best to stay devoted to my goddess," she added.
Like Kamala, many other devotees this year chose to worship goddess Durga from outside of the temples as they crowded temple gates, a violation of social distancing practice necessary to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Not just temples, but the nationwide shutdown has shuttered all religious places for devotees forcing them to pray from their houses.
As the country battles the highly contagious virus, faith remains unshaken and devotion increases many folds.
According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), India has reported about 536 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19. Nine people have died so far due to the deadly virus.
( With inputs from ANI )