Heavy rush of devotees was witnessed at Lord Jagannath temple in Puri with devotees in large numbers turning up for darshan of the sibling deities on Saturday morning. Long queues of devotees were seen in front of Singhadwara as devotees waited for long hours to gain entry into the shrine due to delay in the ‘Dwara Phita’ or the opening of gates rituals today.
The devotees were seen standing inside the barricades installed since early morning. “I waited for nearly 2 hours in the queue. From parking to barricades, there was a huge rush. We want the authorities to streamline rituals so that devotees do not suffer,” said a devotee.
Another devotee from West Bengal said, “There was no provision for drinking water and toilets which is essential for elderly devotees.”
Several devotees said that the administration should create dedicated passages for rescue and medical teams to address any issues in the barricades.
It is pertinent to mention here that crowd start queuing up before Srimandir and the Dwara Phita ritual was conducted at 6:55 am. But devotees were allowed for darshan after Mangala Alati.
Puri SP Kanwar Vishal Singh said, “Additional four platoons of police force were deployed to regulate crowd and other issues. Since early morning there was a huge rush of devotees for which we deployed additional force and senior officers.”
Singh further appealed to devotees not to run inside barricades. “We are doing human chain to prevent such incidents. We conduct drills to address contingencies as well,” he added.