Two “Corona Devi” idols have been installed in the southern city of Coimbatore, in the state of Tamil Nadu, which has been severely affected by an epidemic that has killed 100,000 people across the country in the past four weeks.
India on Thursday released 211,298 new cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours, while deaths from COVID-19 increased by 3,847.
The South Asian country’s overall caseload now stands at 27.37 million, while the total death toll stands at 315,235, according to data from the Ministry of Health.
Kamatchipuri Adhinam Temple is closed to worshipers due to Coimbatore’s high infection rates, but priests pay homage in front of the goddesses, one in sandalwood and the other in stone.
They leave food and other offerings, sing prayers calling for an end to the pandemic, and bathe idols in water and turmeric milk.
“We have had similar temples for smallpox, chickenpox and plague in the past,” said temple director Anandbharathi K.
“We worship the virus in the form of a goddess and pray to her every day to reduce the impacts of this disease,” he added.
As the number of cases declines across much of India, the country of 1.3 billion people has been shocked by the severity of the latest wave of the pandemic, which has overwhelmed hospitals and led to critical shortages oxygen and medication.
“Even the doctors are unable to cope with the enormity of the situation. So we look to faith and God as a last resort, ”said Anandbharathi.
The priests plan to continue their prayers to the idols of “Corona Devi” for another seven weeks.