The places of worship which were shut down for people since the outbreak of the second wave of the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak have been allowed to permit devotees for darshan and other rituals under the pandemic strictures based on an instruction by the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) earlier on August 9.
According to the notification issued by the BMC, no devotee will be allowed inside the Garbha Gruha (sanctum sanctorum) of the temples as darshan can be allowed from a safe distance only. The devotees are also not allowed to light diyas or offer bhoga at the temples as well.
The BMC has advised that the management of the religious institutions shall ensure as many devotees are allowed inside the premises of the shrines so that social distancing of minimum six-feet among them is not violated. Under no circumstances, social distancing norms should be allowed to be violated.
At any point of time, not more than 25 persons will be allowed to congregate at any religious sites.
All temple, mosque, church, gurudwara authority shall ensure RT-PCR testing of their priests or sevayats and only RT-PCR negative and final COVID vaccination certificate holder will be allowed to perform rituals. The priests or sebayats and devotees shall have to put on mask at all times as per COVID protocol, said the BMC.
The managements must make provisions for hand washing or hand sanitization for the devotees at the entry and exit points. Spitting inside and outside the premises and chewing of paan or ghutka is strictly prohibited.
Though all the religious institutions under the jurisdiction of BMC have been permitted to resume public darshan from today, the Lingaraj Temple and ISKCON Temple in the City will open their doors for devotees from September 1.
Likewise, all the religious institutions in Bhadrak district, including the prominent Baba Akhandalamani Temple have also reopened from today.
The Baba Akhandalamani Temple was closed for public darshan on May 3 following the increase in Covid-19 cases in the district.
Devotees can visit the ancient shrine between 6 am to 6 pm every day, except Saturdays. The temple will be closed on Saturday for sanitisation purposes. However, there shall be no offerings by the devotees in the temple.
The district administration has made it mandatory for devotees, servitors to adhere to all important Covid appropriate behaviour. On the other hand, Odisha's Puri Jagannath Temple Reopens Its Gates For All Devotees from today.
(Edited By Suryakant Jena)