Mrunal Manmay Dash

While many people in Odisha welcomed the New Year 2024 with party, dance and music, some others chose to start the day on a religious note.

Thousands of devotees thronged the Srimandir in Puri to get a glimpse of their beloved Lord Jagannath and avail His blessings on New Year’s Day.

The Temple administration was also seemed up for it and finished the last night’s ritual by 11pm on Sunday. The Temple started receiving the devotees after 1:40am. Elaborate arrangements were also made for the convenience of the devotees.

Speaking about the early darshan and arrangements, Central Zone IG, Asish Singh said, “Because of the God’s grace and cooperation of all the Servitors, darshan could began from 1:40am. Devotees have come even before that and rested in the air-conditioned shed. Darshan has since been going on smoothly. Even the rituals are going in a timely manner. After darshan, the devotees are exiting the Temple through the North-Dwara.”

“We have kept the toilet in the market complex open for the devotees to use. Even 4-5 toilets at the entry point have been opened too,” Singh said.

Meanwhile, the new rule of ‘decent attire’ has been enforced in Srimandir from New Year. As per the rules, no devotee will be allowed inside the Temple with ‘indecent attire’. They will have to cover their body fully before making their entry into the 12th century shrine.

Women devotees were told to wear sarees and salwars while males were advised to wear pants, shirts and kurta-punjabis. Besides, children aged under 12 are allowed to wear half pants and shirts, but the grown-ups are advised not to wear tattered jeans, half pants and sleeves.

The Jagannath Temple Police and Pratihari servitors are checking and ensuring adherence to the rule.

It is worth mentioning that the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) has already made the dress code compulsory for servitors from October 20, 2021. As per the dress code, all the servitors have been directed to wear Dhoti, towel, and Patta while performing puja.

Apart from that, Gutkha and pan has also been banned inside Srimandir premises from today. Nobody will be allowed to chew them inside the shrine.

On the Gutkha ban, Odisha Chief Secretary Pradeep Jena said, “If the devotees obey the rules of the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration’s (SJTA), they will have a pleasant experience of darshan inside the Temple.”

“We have urged all the devotees and Servitors to adhere to the rules. Now it is time to implement them. We have caught some violators and have penalised them. But our aim is not to collect penalty. We do not want to penalise anybody. But we want them to adhere to the rules as well,” said SJTA Chief Ranjan Das.

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