Himansu Shekhar Rout

A number of restrictions will come into effect for devotees coming for darshan of the deities in Srimandir in Puri from the New Year- 2024. Significantly, entry of indecently-clad devotees into Srimandir will be restricted. 
Besides, consuming pan and tobacco items and use of polythene inside the temple have been restricted. 

Along with new restrictions, a new darshan system will also be put in place. Devotees will not have to wait under the sun in queues for hours for darshan of the deities. They will have the facility of going under AC shed to Srimandir from Marichikote chhak.  The shed has been equipped with drinking water and makeshift toilets. Besides, there are sitting arrangements inside the shed.      

All the above-said restrictions will be strictly enforced from New Year's Day. Male devotees are required to dress decently -- to wear traditional attire, pants and shirts. Similarly, female devotees should come wearing sarees and salwar suits. Those coming in half pants, ripped jeans, and sleeveless shirts will not be allowed into the shrine.  Flowers and Puja items in polythene packets will not be allowed. 

The information centre of the Srimandir Temple Administration (SJTA) has been making people aware of these restrictions through public address system. 

A woman devotee observed that people wearing Western dresses should not be allowed inside the temple. “Women devotees coming to the temple should refrain from wearing Western dresses,” she added.

“The devotees should not consume paan and ghutka inside the temple. They should not carry polythene bags. All should abide by the restrictions. We seek your help. May Lord Jagannath keep you healthy,” said SJTA administration Ranjan Das. Another devotee welcomed such restrictions by the temple administration.      

On the other hand, despite various facilities, devotees are deprived of smooth darshan of the deities inside the shrine because of crowding and suffocating atmosphere. An elderly devotee was unhappy due to unprecedented crowding inside the temple. She could not have the darshan of the deities. 

Collector Samarth Burma said, “We are trying to ensure all rituals are solemnized smoothly.”

On the other hand, in view of the huge rush of devotees on New Year's Day, tight security arrangements have been made in Puri. As many as 90 platoons of police will be deployed on the day. Traffic restrictions will be effected from the midnight of Sunday. No vehicle zone will be announced from Marichikote Chhak while a green corridor will be made for ambulances.

Central range DIG, Ashish Singh said that 20 DSPs, over 50 inspectors and nearly 140 ASIs will be deployed for security. They were briefed about their duties and responsibilities.

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