Cassian Baliarsingh

In a landmark decision, newly-elected Odisha’s BJP government reopened all four gates of Shree Jagannath Temple in Puri and set up a corpus fund of Rs 500 crore for the 12th-century shrine’s immediate needs in its first Cabinet meeting.

Within six hours of taking oath, CM Mohan Majhi announced that all four gates of Srimandir would be reopened as the BJP had made this promise in its election manifesto. The decision was taken after CM Majhi’s meeting with his ministers at the state secretariat.

While CM Mohan Majhi is being hailed for the historic decision, the reopening of four gates has received mixed reactions from devotees. While the reopening of gates has eased the entry of devotees, it has led to overcrowding inside the temple and poor crowd management has only worsened things further.

The footfall in Jagannath Temple goes up to several lakhs during festive occasions and weekends. In this condition, there is a huge rush inside the temple that may lead to a stampede-like situation inside the temple. Moreover, devotees are just getting a glimpse of the Trinity inside the sanctum sanctorum due to the huge rush. They are hardly being given a minute to offer prayers before being asked to leave the sanctum sanctorum.

“Everyone needs space. But, due to the huge rush, one cannot even stand properly. Hardly did we get a minute to offer prayers before being asked to leave,” said a devotee. Another devotee echoed the same feelings and said, “I wholeheartedly thank the government for opening the four gates. But, it would be great if the new government can think of solutions to address the issue inside the sanctum sanctorum.”

Meanwhile, senior servitors have sought the construction of waiting rooms near the four gates with fan, AC and toilet facilities for the devotees. So that devotees can take rest for a while inside the waiting rooms. Moreover, they demanded the opening of ‘Panda Dwara’ located near the Garuda Khambha. This will help devotees go out through the Panda Dwara. The servitors also demanded the ‘Nata Mandap’ to be cleaned and discarded of the existing almirahs and other items.

The servitors also demanded that Jagannath darshan should not be stopped during the ‘Ballav’ and other minor rituals.

“A waiting room accommodating 4000-5000 devotees should be constructed with all facilities including fan, AC, toilet and drinking water. If devotees are allowed to exit through Panda Dwara, then there will be less crowd,” Damodar Mahasuar, a senior servitor said.

Similarly, popular sand sculptor Sudarsan Pattnaik said, “Keeping our beliefs in mind, the government has taken such a historic decision to open all four gates. Now, it is our duty to maintain peace and follow the rules inside the sanctum sanctorum. The Managing Committee Meeting should hold a review meeting in this regard and take appropriate steps in this regard.”

When contacted, Puri Collector said that a special Managing Committee meeting would be held soon to discuss the steps needed to be taken for a better experience for the devotees inside the temple premises.

OTV News is now on Whatsapp

Join and get latest news update delivered to you via whatsapp

Join Now