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Sharmili Mallick

The Lingaraj Temple in the Capital City of Bhubaneswar reopened for devotees from today i.e. September 1 while adhering to all the Covid-19 protocols. 

The decision to reopen the shrine was taken in a meeting of the temple trust board chaired by Khurda Collector Sanat Kumar Mohanty last month. The BMC had restricted public entry into the temple since April 18 following the substantial number of Covid-19 positive cases among servitors at the temple.

In view of the prevailing Covid-19 situation and prevent the outbreak of the virus once again, the BMC has issued a set of guidelines to be followed by the devotees, sevayats, staff and temple officials.

Devotees are being allowed darshan of Lord Lingaraj from Ada Katha (wooden wall inside the temple) while the visitors are being mandatorily asked to furnish proof of two doses of vaccination certificates either on paper or mobile phone at the entrance.

“The temple has opened for devotees after around 5 months. The devotees will have to produce double dose vaccination certificate or negative RT-PCR conducted within 72 hours. Children and elderly people are not allowed inside the temple. Use of mask is mandatory and devotees will have to maintain social distancing,” said a sevayat of Lord Lingaraj Temple.

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“Adequate police personnel and temple officials have been engaged to ensure people abide by the Covid appropriate behaviour compulsorily,” added the sevayat.

Meanwhile, entering the sanctum sanctorum is strictly forbidden for devotees while a maximum number of 100 devotees are being allowed from the Lion’s Gate to Ada Katha to offer prayer to Lord Lingaraj at a time.

Servitors cannot accept any offerings from the devotees while the devotees will be allowed to have darshan only, as per the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) issued by the BMC.

The temple authorities have arranged the facilities for washing and sanitizing hands at the entry and exit of the temple. Spitting of pan, tobacco in and outside the temple is prohibited.

People with symptoms such as SARI or ILI cannot enter the temple. Adults, pregnant women, and children under the age of 18 who have been diagnosed with the deadly disease have also been barred from entering.

Gathering of more than 25 people will not be allowed in the temple and thermal screening of devotees will be conducted at the Lion’s Gate of the temple.

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