Maharashtra: Covid norms go for a toss, over 1 lakh visit Karla temple | Mumbai News

Around 1.5 lakh people visited Ekvira Devi Temple at Karla in Lonavla between 5am and 5pm on Sunday, throwing Covid norms to the wind, ASI officials told TOI on Monday. Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) now plans talks with district authorities to put a cap on visitors’ at monuments report overcrowding.
“The visit on Sunday was part of religious tourism. There were few visitors to Karla caves as most headed to Ekvira Devi Temple. Of the nearly 1.5 lakh people who visited the temple on Sunday, most were not wearing masks, and there was no social distancing,” a senior ASI official said.
The official suggested an increase in police vigilance at such locations during festive days. “Nearly 100 personnel were at the caves on Sunday to manage crowds, but all efforts fell flat. The situation was horrible and it is not known how much of it may have contributed to the spread of Covid,” he said.
The official said Karla caves has a relatively smaller area, so the district authorities should imposed a cap the number of people visiting such spots during festivals.
Another ASI official said people who visited the temple on Sunday were there to pay homage to the goddess because of Navaratra festival. “The temple premises, right from the gate till the parking lot, was packed. Crowds persisted for 12 hours on Sunday, and started thinning only after 5pm,” he said. Only 600 tickets were sold for Karla caves on Sunday, but thousands entered without tickets, another official said, adding, “There was also no space at the ticket counter due to the those thronging the spot.”
Pune district collector Rajesh Deshmukh said, “We must follow Covid-appropriate behaviour. If this is repeated, the authorities may cap the number of tourists.”

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