Suryakant Jena

The Lord Jagannath temple at Puri will reopen for the public from February 1 with strict adherence to Covid protocol, Puri Collector Samarth Verma informed reporters on Friday. 

The darshan of the Trinity at the 12th century shrine will continue as before from February 1st but under the laid down pandemic guidelines. The decision has been taken with unanimity from all sections of servitors and other stakeholders considering the receding surge of the virus cases, Verma said after a meeting with the temple's servitor body, the Chhatisa Nijoga. 

The temple will remain closed on Sundays for sanitisation purposes. Similarly, citizens of Puri town will be allowed to enter the temple through the western gate while outsiders will be using the eastern entrance, he said.

The daily opening and closing of the shrine will be adjusted according to the latest COVID night curfew rules and the public will be informed about the timings in a detailed SOP to be released soon, said Verma.

The district collector further informed that around 200 to 300 eligible servitors have already been inoculated with the booster jabs of COVID vaccine and the rest will be administered as and when the nine-month period from their second dose gets complete.