After several months of staying off the limits, the world famous temple of the Lord Jagannath in Puri reopened today (August 23) for all devotees hailing from outside Puri.
Darshan of the presiding deities at the Srimandir was discontinued since April 24 this year after the resurgence in second wave of Covid-19 pandemic in the State.
However, after decline in the number of virus cases and easing of lockdown restrictions, the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) recently reopened the 12th-century shrine in a phased manner. The residents of Puri Municipality area already got darshan from August 16 to August 20.
As per the guidelines laid out by the temple management, devotees can have darshan of the Holy Trinity between 7 am and 7 pm on all weekdays except Saturdays and Sundays.
“I have come from Bhubaneswar to have a glimpse of the Lords as the temple has opened after a gap of four months,” expressed a devotee elated after visiting the shrine.
Meanwhile, the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration has made special arrangements for crowd management and to ensure people adhere to Covid appropriate behaviour during the darshan.
All devotees are being allowed entry through Singhadwar and exit through Uttaradwar of the temple. Barricades have been installed to make sure devotees maintain physical distancing and as many as eight kiosks have been set up to facilitate proper sanitization.
Particular arrangements have been put in place to allow entry of differently-abled and elderly devotees.
People visiting the temple are asked to produce the Final Certificate for Covid-19 vaccination (of having taken two doses) or COVID-19 negative certificate (RTPCR) of testing done within 96 hours prior to their visit to the temple. Visitors will also be required to bring their photo ID Card, namely, Aadhaar/Voter ID etc.
Informing on the latest development from the temple, Puri SP Kanwar Vishal Singh said, “We have taken feedback from more than 40 people and the arrangements are being appreciated. Around 12 platoons of forces have been deployed in and outside the temple."
Devotees have been urged to submit their feedback on police service at the temple either by submitting a form or through online QR code scanning systems installed at parking lots and other places.
“We urge all to give feedback and use this opportunity to further help us in improving the Hassle Free Darshan Experience for devotees,” the Puri Police stated on Twitter.
Krishan Kumar, Chief Administrator of the SJTA said, “Last week, over 50,000 devotees had come to pay obeisance to the Lords. Now, with the opening of temple for non-Puri residents, we expect around 15,000-20,000 footfall every day,” added Kumar.
(Edited By Suryakant Jena)