Panaji: A popular 16th century temple in Goa on Friday banned entry of tourists to the temples premises located in south Goa in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A circular issued by the temple late on Thursday said that the ban had been imposed due to the inability of the temple authorities to ascertain the travel history of tourists.
"Tourists shall be prohibited from entering the temple premises due to our inability to ascertain their travel history," the circular issued by the temple's managing committee stated.
While the temple itself will remain open and "regular rituals will continue to be performed as usual", other services like ritualistic offering of food to visitors, offering of prasad bought from outside the temple premises, along with room bookings by devotees has been stopped.
"Priests have been advised to keep safe distance from the devotees... Devotees are advised not to visit temple premises, unless essential. Management reserves the right to restrict entry to the temple," the circular also says.
On Thursday, the Roman Catholic Church too urged the laity to not visit Church premises in groups and absolved them from the mandatory chore of attending Sunday prayer services.
The deity housed in the temple, Ramnath, was relocated in the 16th century by its followers, to the present day Ponda sub-district after they escaped from Portuguese-held regions of Goa due to religious persecution.