The Saman Deva statue and the jewels were taken from the Sri Pada Viharaya in Galpottawela, Pelmadulla to Adam’s Peak yesterday (28).
The statue, jewels and relics were taken along four roads and were placed at the Sri Sumana Saman Devalaya this morning. The Sri Pada pilgrimage season will officially commence thereafter.
The Sri Pada pilgrimage season ends on Vesak Full Moon Poya day.
After the conclusion of the Sri Pada season, the Saman Deva statue and jewels will be placed in a special room at the Sri Pada Viharaya in Galpottawela, Pelmadulla.
The Saman Deva statue and jewels will only be taken out of the room after the Sri Pada season resumes once again.
The Chief Incumbent of Sri Pada venerable Bengamuwe Dhammadinna thera urged devotees to ensure they adhere to coronavirus regulations.
The Venerable called on the public to wear face masks and wash hands constantly, adding shops for public convenience are also open and will function in accordance with strict health safety measures.
The Thera also noted that apart from those engaging in religious ceremonies, all others will not be granted lodging, as a safety measure.
Meanwhile Nuwara-Eliya District Secretary Rohana Pushpakumara urged devotees to refrain from engaging in Sri Pada pilgrimages in the month of January.
He however clarified that such a request does not infer that the Sri Pada pilgrimage is not being conducted this year or is closed to the public, adding all ceremonies will be carried out as per usual.
Pushpakumara said authorities nevertheless hope to carry out all religious observances for devotees from February onwards.
Moreover health authorities have also urged devotees to remain cautious of the spread of COVID-19 in the island.
The Public Health Inspectors Union advised that small children, pregnant women and persons with chronic diseases should refrain from engaging in any pilgrimages.
PHI accordingly urged people to contact PHI in charge of Sri Pada and other health officials in order to determine a day with less congestion to engage in the pilgrimage.
Speaking to NewsRadio Secretary to the PHI Union Mahendra Balasuriya said the spread of COVID-19 in the Nuwara-Eliya and Ratnapura districts are being monitored with caution, adding therefore the need for limits and restrictions are vital to prevent the spread of the virus during this time frame.
Balasuriya also advised those who intend to engage in the pilgrimage as to what health safety measures they must abide by urging people to constantly wear masks and carry hand sanitizer as if a COVID-19 positive patient is among the crowd all those visiting at the time will be at risk of contracting the virus themselves.
Balasuriya also urged people to maintain social distancing as strictly as possible and called on the public to refrain from arriving in large groups and avoid crowds.