Ram Navami Mela cancelled due to COVID-19 scare

No 'Ramnavami Mela' this year; Entry of outsiders banned in Ayodhya due to coronavirus

The 'Mela' was scheduled to be held from March 25 to April 2

A police person wearing protective mask in the wake of coronavirus pandemic stands guard at a check-post near Ramlala market in Ayodhya, Saturday, March 14, 2020. (PTI Photo)

After initial dilly-dallying, the Uttar Pradesh government on Saturday said that no outsiders would be allowed to enter Ayodhya till April 2, virtually cancelling the 'Ram Navami Mela' in the temple town.

According to the sources here, the seers in Ayodhya also said that the 'Ram Navami Mela', an annual affair attended by over a million people, would not be held this year in view of the coronavirus outbreak.

The 'Mela' was scheduled to be held from March 25 to April 2.

Officials in Ayodhya said that those coming to the town between the said dates would be turned back from the borders of the district. ''We will be sealing the borders of Ayodhya,'' said an official.

Sources said that mass bathing was also banned in the sacred Saryu river in Ayodhya. Besides, all bookings of outsiders in the hotels and lodges in Ayodhya have also been cancelled.

The residents of the district were also asked not to crowd the temples and ghats of Saryu river during the 'Navratri' (a nine day Hindu ritual).

The health officials had sounded the alarm bells and asked the government to cancel the event in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Several prominent seers of Ayodhya, including the president of the Ram Janmabhoomi Trust Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, held a meeting in the temple town on Saturday and asked the devotees not to come to Ayodhya on 'Ram Navami'. 

The saint community in Ayodhya, which was vehemently against banning the 'Mela', finally gave in to the pressure by the administration, sources said.