Ahead of the reopening of Shree Jagannath Temple in Puri for visitors from August 16, the process of dismantling the three gigantic chariots of Lord Balabhadra, Devi Subhadra and Lord Jagannath began on Thursday.
The dismantling of the chariots became necessary in order to make space for the installation of barricades on the Badadanda (Grand Road) to regulate the movement of devotees and maintain social distancing in view of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic situation.
“The Bhoi servitors, as per tradition, have started dismantling the chariots. At first, Devi Suhadra’s chariot, ‘Darpadalana’, is being dismantled following which Lord Jagannath’s ‘Nandighosa’ and Lord Balabhadra’s ‘Taladhwaja’ will be disassembled, respectively,” said a Bhoi servitor.
“After disassembling the chariots completely, the Bhoi servitors will submit the nails used in the construction of the chariots at the Shree Jagannath Temple Adminisration’s (SJTA) office. Though 10-15 days are required to fully dismantle the chariots, we will try to complete the work at the earliest this year,” added the Bhoi servitor.
Unlike the construction of chariots, which starts from the base (wheels, axle, etc), the dismantling begins from the top (kalash, olta sua, khapuri parabadhi, potala etc).
The dismantled wooden components will be used in the Srimandir’s kitchen to cook the ‘Kotha Bhoga’. Last year, the temple administration had planned to preserve the wood and reassemble it so that the chariots could be kept in the premises of Jagannath Ballav mutt to attract tourists. However, the plan was dropped later due to shortage of space at the mutt.
Earlier yesterday, Chief Administrator of SJTA Krishan Kumar had informed about the reopening of the 12th-century shrine for devotees from August 16 after a meeting with the Chhatisa Nijog.
The temple authorities have chalked out some primary restrictions for devotees visiting the shrine. People coming for paying obeisance to the Holy Trinity will be allowed entry into the temple only after production of double dose vaccination proof or negative RT-PCR test report, not older than 96 hours before the entry time.
The residents of Puri will be initially given chance to have darshan of the Lords in the first five days following the reopening, till August 20 while devotees from the rest of the country will be allowed to visit the temple after August 23.
The darshan timing in the temple has been fixed from 7 am to 8 pm for five days every week except Saturdays and Sundays. This apart, entry of public into the temple will also remain restricted on the occasion of Janmashtami.