Suryakant Jena

The world-famous Jagannath Temple in Puri will reopen its gates for devotees from August 16. The 12th-century shrine will be reopened for the first time after staying off the limits of the public for more than three months in the wake of the second wave of Covid pandemic.

Chief Administrator of the Shree Jagannath Temple Krishan Kumar announced the major decision in a press statement on Wednesday. Kumar informed that a carefully calibrated reopening plan for the temple will be effected from August 16 under which the local 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.

Devotees will not be allowed to enter the temple for the two days, August 21 and 22, due to weekend shutdown restrictions in Puri as has been laid down by the State government. Thereafter, the darshan will be normalised and devotees from across the country will be allowed to visit the Jagannath Temple from August 23, said the Chief Administrator.

The temple authorities have enumerated 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 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 the public into the temple will also remain restricted on the occasion of Janmashtami.

The temple management has further informed it will try to ensure that all servitors, personnel of the temple administration and their family members will be completely vaccinated or tested for Covid in the run up to the reopening of the temple.

Addressing media, Sevayat Rajat Kumar Pratihari said the servitor community will lend full support to the temple administration and the public for streamlining the darshan. Partaking of food will not be allowed inside the Ananda Bazaar. But Mahaprasad will be available for purchase, he said.