Mrunal Manmay Dash

practice to allow entry of devotees only through the Singhadwara of the Srimandir which was put in place following the Coronavirus outbreak in Odisha two years back, is still continuing. It has angered many devotees who are devoid of the daily darshan of Lord Jagannath.

A Puri local and Jagannath devotee, Nirupama Mishra said, “It pains us to no bounds to be devoid of the darshan of Lord Jagannath even after being a resident of Puri. I used to visit the temple every evening between 6:30 and 7 pm. If the administration makes some arrangements for us, then we would be grateful.”

It is worthwhile to mention here that the Srimandir in Puri allows darshan through only one gate, Singhadwara. It results in unprecedented congestion every day. The situation goes from bad to worse on holidays when the devotees have to wait in queue for more than 4-5 hours for darshan.

With entry only allowed through Singhadwara, it has become virtually impossible for the senior citizens of the pilgrim city to get darshan of their beloved Kalia (Lord Jagannath).

A senior citizen of Puri, Chandrasekhar Satapathy said, “It has become too difficult for us to avail darshan of the Lord. We are above 70. The rush at the Singhadwara has forced us to stay away from the Temple.”

The anger and the anguish in not new. In fact, the residents of seven sahis and 42 streets of the holy town have been raising their voices for long. They have been demanding to reopen the other three doors too by which the congestion can be minimised.

The issue was raised by the servitors and the members of the Jagannath Temple Management Committee at the recent Rath Yatra Coordination Meeting held at the Town Hall in Puri.

Mahaprasad is a prerequisite in every household in Puri during the smallest of occasions. We have been demanding the SJTA to at least open the North Gate, so that the locals can easily take Mahaprasad from the Temple,” said Management Committee member, Ananta Tiadi.

Puri MLA, Jayant Sarangi even threatened to take to the streets if the administration does not look into the demands soon enough.

Speaking to OTV, Sarangi said, “It is a matter of great sorrow that my people in Puri can’t see their beloved Mahaprabhu because of single-door entry into the Temple. I will fight for their demands and if necessary, I will take to the streets as well.”

The huge rush at the Singhadwara has recently resulted in a stampede-like situation as well when two devotees reportedly fell sick and unconscious on January 15.

Similarly, on March 15, a few devotees were reportedly injured in a stampede-like situation at the shrine.

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