Yatri Nivas, the guest house for devotees situated on the Kollidam river bank, is likely to be kept out of bound for devotees for a few more months.
The facility, owned by Ranganathaswamy Temple in Srirangam, was closed for booking from the third week of March following the imposition of a nationwide lockdown to check the spread of COVID-19 virus. The advanced bookings were also cancelled as the temple too was closed.
Yatri Nivas, which has 612 single rooms, 98 double rooms and 24 family cottages, can accommodate 1,000 devotees. It was built and opened in 2014 to provide budget accommodation to devotees.
The facility was used to quarantine primary contacts of COVID-19 positive patients in June. However, only the dormitory block was allowed for the purpose. Family cottages and deluxe rooms were kept closed.
Those quarantined at the facility were subsequently screened for the virus and those requiring treatment were sent to Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Government Hospital. Asymptomatic patients were transferred to the COVID care centre at Khajamalai campus of Bharathidasan University.
However, there has been a decline in the number of cases for the last few weeks in Tiruchi district. But, it is learnt that the district administration is inclined to keep the facilities under its control for a few more months.
Officials are of the view that the facilities are very much needed to quarantine asymptomatic patients if there is a surge in cases.
Ranganathaswamy Temple was reopened to public darshan on September 1. However, it has not yet resumed booking for Yatri Nivas. Though the premises has been cleaned fully, authorities are awaiting the State governments permission to reopen the facility.
Joint Commissioner cum Executive Officer of the Temple P. Jayaraman told The Hindu that only a limited number of devotees were allowed to visit the temple. The situation was being closely monitored. Moreover, the government had not given permission to reopen accommodation facilities in temples across the State. Yatri Nivas would be opened only after getting the permission of the Government.