By Kailash Lama, Charikot, Apr. 15: The famous Bhimeshwor Temple located at Bhimeshwor Municipality-2 of Dolakha district has been closed for the first time due to the COVID-19 scare.
The temple has never been closed since its establishment until now.
Mohan Kumar Shrestha, priest of the temple, said that the temple was shut down for all devotees considering the threat of COVID-19 pandemic.
Shrestha said that the temple was locked from March 24 until further notice.
All prayer rituals of the temple have been suspended except for the daily prayer service ritual which is done five times a day.
The Bhimeshwor Guthi Management Committee, by issuing a notice, had suspended all prayers of Chaite Dashain, Rudri Puja, Lakhbatti Puja, Yakar Puja, Bali Puja, all public prayers and daily prayers of the Guthi itself.
"The crowding within the temple premises would intensify the risk of spread of COVID-19. Thus, we decided to close the temple," said Bharat Shrestha, Chairman of the committee.
Chairman Shrestha said that the temple held special significant nationally and internationally, especially in Dashain, Chaite Dashain, Mahasnan Puja in Kartik, Bhim Ekadasi, Shivaratri, Janai Purnima and so forth.
It is said that the Bhimeshwor idol in temple blows the whistle about any forthcoming omen in the nation by beading sweat.
The temple used to attract around 5,000 worshippers every week.
It is said the idol had beaded sweat on 1990 BS, 1997 BS, 2007 BS, 2011 BS, 2017 BS, 2018 BS, 2036 BS, 2046 BS, 2057 BS, 2061 BS, 2070 BS, 2074 BS and and 2076 BS and within six months, various political and natural crisis have been observed.
For an instance, a massive earthquake hit Nepal in 1990, the Rana regime ended in 2007, huge flood and landslide occurred in 2047, the royal massacre took place in 2058, the second people's movement was held in 2061 ending the monarchy and another massive earthquake hit Nepal in 2072.
Recently as well, people said the idol had sweated for two hours straight on February 20, 2020.
Within one month of the sweating, Nepal also got affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, thereby forcing the government to impose lockdown to combat the virus, which has invited economic crisis and put the public health at risk.
Previously, the cotton used for wiping the Bhimeshwor idol's sweat would be sent to the Royal Palace and the Palace would then provide materials for atonement worship.
After the end of monarchy, the cotton used for cleaning the sweat is sent to the President.