Coronavirus cases are rising in India. Now holy places are reopening their doors.
When it reopened Monday, much was different. Devotees approached the temple by the hundreds each hour, rather than by the thousands. The shrine’s employees wore full-body protective gear. Certain rituals were prohibited — no touching a sacred bell, no drinking of holy water.
India is home to some of the world’s largest and most distinctive religious places, representing nearly every major faith. They include temples, mosques, churches, shrines, ashrams and synagogues. All were ordered to close in late March. Now each is adapting in its own way to the pandemic — discarding certain rituals, requiring people to wear masks, limiting the number of visitors and making copious use of sanitizer.
The reopening of places of worship came as India reported its biggest one-day jump in new cases. The country is now adding roughly 10,000 fresh cases a day, the third highest in the world, behind only the United States and Brazil.