Christmas celebrations and Vaikunta Ekadashi spread joy as people pray for a disease-free 2021
Mysore/Mysuru: Christmas was not cancelled but it was significantly curtailed in city this year due to COVID contagion and the State Government’s flip-flop on night curfew, timings, restrictions and scale of celebrations.
Likewise, Vaikunta Ekadashi too was celebrated in a low-key manner at most of the Vaishnavite Temples in city this morning. Though Temples were decorated for the festival, the crowd was limited in the morning. However, the footfalls picked up as the day progressed.
Representatives from Temple managements and Trusts were seen appealing to people not to crowd in a particular area. Extra care was taken to ensure sanitising and help pilgrims maintain social distancing.
Sri Lakshmivenkataramanaswamy Temple at Vontikoppal remained closed for devotees due to pandemic and people were seen performing pujas and lighting camphor outside the closed doors.
Infant Jesus placed at 7 pm
Hundreds of Christians flo-cked the churches in city to attend the midnight Mass yesterday heralding Christmas celebrations. The centre of attraction was the St. Philomena’s Church in Lashkar Mohalla where people arrived to witness the celebrations. Church members and the choir sang Christmas carols and hymns.
Bishop of Mysuru Diocese Rev. Dr. K.A. William placed the idol of Infant Jesus in the crib. Sermons and prayers were conducted by the Bishop. Usually, the idol of Infant Jesus is placed in the crib at midnight to mark the birth of Christ. But thanks to the Government’s frequently changing orders, the idol was placed in the crib at 7 pm.
Early morning prayers
The illuminated Churches, people visiting them and Christmas holidays spread some cheer amidst the pandemic. People came out of their homes wearing masks and carrying handy sanitiser dispensers in a hope that at least their prayers would herald a disease-free New Year.
As most of the devotees could not attend the midnight Mass, many devotees lined up in front of churches as early as 5 am today. Prayers were held till 11 am.
Prayer services were also conducted at Virgin of the Poor Church in Bannimantap, St. Anthony’s Church in Gayatripuram, Pushpagiri Church in Belavatta village, Sacred Heart Church in Yadavagiri, Holy Family Church in Hinkal, St. Theresa Church in Mysore South, Mother Theresa Church in Rajivnagar, St. Joseph’s Church in Jayalakshmipuram and other churches in city.
Vaikunta Dwara opens
Special puja arrangements were made at Sri Ganapathi Sachchidananda Ashram. The Venkataramanaswamy Temple inside the Ashram premises was decked up for the occasion. In the puja rituals that were held early in the morning Sri Swamiji took part.
A Vaikunta Dwara (Swargada Baagilu) or ‘Heavenly Gate’ to the Lord’s inner Sanctum was opened at North of the temple and devotees passed through the Dwara. The Dwara is opened on this auspicious day, which falls during the Dhanur / Margashira month in the Hindu calendar (corresponding to late December-early January in English calendar).
While the Venkateshwara Temple inside the Ashram was decorated as “Shesha Vahana”, the Venkateshwara idol was decorated as Mahavishnu. However, there was no prasada distribution in the Temple and devotees had to return after darshan.
Extra rush at Temples
Due to the festival, there was extra rush in Sri Chamundeshwari Temple atop the Chamundi Hill. Devotees also thronged the ISKCON Temple at Jayanagar for darshan and Vaikunta Dwara Puja. Devotees wore masks and sanitisers were made available at almost every corner.
Likewise, special pujas were held at Yoganarasimhaswamy Temple in Vijayanagar, Sri Raghavendra Swamy Mutt at Kuvempunagar and Jayalakshmipuram, Lakshmi Narasimhaswamy Temple on Kalidasa Road and Srinivasa Temple on 5th Cross in Jayanagar.