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UP: Hundreds pray at ‘Corona Mata’ temple

PRAYAGRAJ: Amid the second wave of Covid-19 pandemic, a ‘Corona Mata’ temple has come up at Shuklapur village in Pratapgarh district of Uttar Pradesh where hundreds of villagers have started offering prayers to ward off coronavirus.
The temple has been built by a group of villagers after collecting donations for the locals. The villagers have started offering prayers to Corona Mata wishing that “shadow of Covid-19 should never fall on Shuklapur and adjoining villages”.
Not only this, they are also highlighting the importance of Covid-19 protocol like use of masks and social distancing while offering prayers at the temple.
An idol, named ‘Corona Mata’, has also been placed in the open temple. The idol too wears a mask.
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 mandir under a ‘neem’ tree with full belief that praying to the deity would definitely offer respite to people from the deadly disease.”
The little white stone idol has been placed on the wall in the open temple.
With the installation of the idol, daily prayers are being organised and villagers are seeking blessings to save people from the deadly disease.
Radhe Shyam, the temple priest, said: “We have earlier heard the name of ‘Chechak Mata’ (smallpox mother) who cured the disease. Similarly, we have set up Corona Mata mandir with the belief that Mata would solve all the difficulties. We collected funds for the villagers.”
He said, however, this was not the first time such a temple has come up in the country. “When plague and other deadly diseases like smallpox spread across villages and towns and killed many people years back, people also worshipped Chechak Mata.”
For the past two days, villagers have been offering prayers to Corona Mata with all religious rituals. Covid-19 guidelines like maintaining social distance are in place. Aarti is also being performed two times in a day, he added.
Villagers claimed that devotees are not allowed to touch the idol and offer only yellow flowers to the goddess.
Villagers, meanwhile, informed TOI that two Covid-19 related deaths were reported in the village during the peak of the second wave which left us terrified.
“With the setting up of the temple and installation of Corona Mata idol, we feel protected and believe that Mata’s blessings would save us from the deadly disease forever, “the villagers said.
Interestingly, videos wherein people offering prayers at Corona Mata temple have gone viral on social media.
On being asked about the temple, station house officer (Sangipur) Tushar said, “I have no idea about any such temple. However, we will look into the matter.”

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