No darshan at Mumbai temples during lunar eclipse

Apr 04, 2015, 07:27 IST | Netra Sardesai

Some temples like Mahalaxmi, Mumba Devi and ISKCON will remain inaccessible today for devotees from 2.29 pm to 8.30 pm; managements say while pujas will be performed as usual, none will be allowed to touch the idols, including priests

While the total lunar eclipse or Blood Moon, which will last for just 12 minutes today, might delight skywatchers in the eastern part of the country, some popular temples across Mumbai will remain inaccessible during the entire duration of the eclipse starting 2:29 pm to 8:30 pm. These include the Mahalaxmi, Mumba Devi and ISKCON Temples.

The Mahalaxmi Temple management has decided to keep the main temple off-limits for devotees during the eclipse period
The Mahalaxmi Temple management has decided to keep the main temple off-limits for devotees during the eclipse period

Speaking to mid-day, B S Walavalkar, assistant manager at Shree Mahalakshmi Temple Charities, said that while the main temple will remain off-limits between 3.30 pm and 8.30 pm for the devotees, the Ganesha temple on the premises will remain open throughout the day. Usually, the Mahalaxmi temple remains open from 6 am to 10 pm.

“While the temple will open at 6 am as usual, the priests won’t be accepting any offerings from the devotees. In addition, nobody will be allowed to touch the idols, including the priests, until the eclipse ends. Even the distribution of sweets, prasad or teerth will be prohibited during the eclipse period,” said Walavalkar.

Commenting on the arrangements made for today, Dhananjay Kajrekar, a priest at the Shree Siddhivinayak Temple, said, “The eclipse will be observed from 3.45 pm, followed by Madhya Kal (in-between period) 5.30 pm, and finally, the Grahan Moksha (end of the eclipse) at 7.15 pm.

The temple will remain open all day. We will be observing the time of ‘Ved’ at 11 am, wherein young children, pregnant women, sick individuals, handicapped persons, can’t eat, have bath, pray or move out of their residences.”

The priests will perform the Abhishek puja at 6.52 pm, following which prasad will be distributed from 8.45 pm to 9.50 pm. Here, too, the idols will remain untouched during the eclipse period.

Today also being Hanuman Jayanti, managements of both the temples have decided to perform the morning Shringar (decoration) at 4.30 am, followed by the regular puja at 6 am at the Hanuman temples on their respective premises.

‘A rare phenomenon’
Officials from Nehru Planetarium said that the phenomenon would be visible in North America, the Pacific, East Asia, Australia and New Zealand. They said it’s rare for a total lunar eclipse to occur on a full moon day. An official said, “The lunar eclipse will pass through seven different stages from 2.29 pm to 8.30 pm.

While the penumbral phase will last for 6h 1m 8s, the duration of the umbral phase will be 3h 29m 41s. However, the total lunar eclipse will last for 12m 13s. The actual eclipse will start at 5.24 pm and conclude by 5.36 pm. During this period, the moon will not be above the horizon, making it almost invisible to Indians.

The moon is said to rise at 6.53 pm. However, those from the Eastern part of the country, such as Guwahati, will have a better chance of viewing it. A faint shadow of the penumbral eclipse might be observed. The penumbral eclipse will end for Mumbai at 8.30 pm.

Thus, it may not be visible to Mumbaikars.” Penumbral phase is when the moon moves through the faint, outer part of the Earth’s shadow. Umbral phase is when the moon enters the Earth’s umbra the darkest part of the shadow, as there is no solar radiation here.

12m 13s
Total length of the actual total lunar eclipse from 5:24 pm to 5:36 pm

2.29 pm
Commencement time of the lunar eclipse

8.30 pm
Conclusion time for the eclipse

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