Pratapgarh (Uttar Pradesh) [India], June 12 (ANI): People in a Shuklapur village in Uttar Pradesh's Partpagarh district have been seen flocking to a neem tree where a 'Corona Mata' temple has come up, to offer prayers seeking protection from the deadly Covid-19 virus.
Villagers claimed, "After witnessing the coronavirus pandemic and its deadly impact which snatched lives of thousands of people, we decided to set up Corona Mata temple under a 'neem' tree with full belief that praying to the deity would definitely offer respite to people from the deadly disease."
A white idol named 'Corona Mata' has also been placed at the temple. The idol also wears a mask. People were seen offering prayers and sweets.
The temple took shape after villagers collected donations for it.
"Villagers collectively decided and set up the temple with belief that praying to the deity would definitely offer respite to people from the corona virus, which has claimed so many lives," a villager said.
While they gather to worship the 'Corona Mata' idol and seek safety for people in Shuklapur and adjoining areas, the villagers are careful to follow Covid safety protocols. They remind people to wear masks and maintain social distancing.
A notice on the temple wall where the idol has been installed bears this notice 'Use mask, wash your hands and maintain distance. Only yellow colour flowers, fruits, sweets and others are allowed as offering'.
This UP village is not the first in the country to set up a temple whose diety has been named after the disease. It has been seen, especially during the times of epidemics or natural disasters, like the chicken pox, plague or cholera goddesses were worshipped in the belief they will protect the villagers and ward off the disease.
Last month a temple in Tamil Nadu' Coimbatore consecrated a 'Corona Devi' idol to protect people from the deadly Covid-19 virus.
Consecrating deities to protect people from deadly diseases has been in practice for many years, said the priest at the Kamatchipuri Adhinam temple.
In the early 1900s when Coimbatore district was hit by the plague, its residents seeking relief had reportedly offered prayers at the Plague Mariamman Temple. (ANI)