After nearly four months of Covid-19 restrictions, the world famous temple of Lord Jagannath in Puri has reopened from today. However, the family members of the servitors are only allowed darshan of the Holy Trinity today and tomorrow.
The residents of Puri Municipality area will be allowed entry to the 12th century shrine for five days from August 16 to August 20. Later from August 23, the general darshan will be normalised as all devotees will be allowed entry into the temple.
Srimandir was closed since April 24, 2021 and the entry of general public was barred in view of threat of the spread of Covid-19. Sri Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA), the managing authority of the shrine issued a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) about the reopening of the temple on Wednesday following a meeting with Chhatisa Nijog members.
According to the laid out protocols, the family members of the servitors are allowed entry into the temple for darshan after producing their health insurance card or any other identification card issued by SJTA along with photo id proof like, Aadhaar and Voter ID.
SJTA has also issued guidelines for residents of Puri Municipality who can visit the temple from August 16-20. The town administration will issue them special cards for entry into the temple. As many as six members of a family can have the darshan of the Lords by producing their Photo ID proof bearing address, such as, Aaadhar or Voter ID along with the special entry card.
Meanwhile, all devotees coming across and outside the State to visit the temple will have to produce the final Certificate of Covid-19 vaccination (two doses of vaccination) or Covid-19 negative certificate (RTPCR) report not older than 96 hours prior to their visit to the temple.
This apart, it has been mandatory for all devotees to wear masks and maintain social distancing while entering the temple. Devotees will leave their belongings at the designated place outside the temple. Similarly, people will not be allowed to take flowers, prasad and lamps inside the temple.
Similarly, lighting of diyas (earthen lamps) inside the temple by the devotees will not be permitted at all. Chewing of tobacco/ paan and spitting inside the temple premises is strictly prohibited. A fine of Rs 500 will be levied for each violation.
There will be no partaking of Mahaprasad inside Ananda Bazar and temple premises. However, devotees can carry Mahaprasad & partake it at their place of residence or any other convenient place.
The Temple will remain closed for public darshan on Saturdays and Sundays as a measure to contain the spread of Coronavirus disease and in order to sanitise the temple premises. The temple will also remain closed on major festive occasions until further orders in order to avoid any spike in transmission of Covid-19 on account of expected huge gathering, the SJTA has said in its directive.
(Edited by Suryakant Jena)