Shimla (Himachal Pradesh) [India], October 17 (ANI): The 200-year-old Shimla Kali Bari saw its first rush of devotees in months as people thronged the temple on the first day of Navratri that fell on Saturday.
However, this is not enough to revive the shattered tourism industry of Himachal Pradesh in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Usually, this autumn break is considered the best season for the tourism industry in the region, especially with a huge number of tourists from West Bengal arriving in Shimla to visit the 200-year-old Kali temple, apart from other parts of the state. This year, however, is different due to the pandemic.
Starting with the local temple, the management has arranged for social distancing, sanitisation, and other COVID-19 protocols as per the central government guidelines.
The temple administration has made a special arrangement for body temperature measurement through thermal scanning.
"We're making sure that all devotees follow the COVID-19 guidelines and wear masks," Surender Bhattacharya, Kali Bari manager, said.
On the other hand, people involved in travel and tourism business say tourists are not arriving in the region because the train facilities aren't like before.
"This temple is nearly 200-year-old and is often visited by Bengali tourists. But due to the COVID-19 and fewer trains running, turnout is very poor this year," Vijay Negi, a local travel agent, told ANI.
The business during Navratri festival will also be nil, the travel companies fear.
"Only weekend tourists from the neighbouring states are arriving and they do not contribute much to the economy of the state," Vijay added. (ANI)