Cuttack/Bhadrak/Puri: In the wake of the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic restrictions, the Maha Shivaratri (Jagara Jatra) on March 11 will be observed without public participation at many Shiva shrines across Odisha.
The Cuttack district administration has decided to impose prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC around the famous Dhabaleswar Temple in Athagarh area to prevent the congregation of devotees on Shivratri. The restrictions will be in place from 6 am on March 11 till 6 am on March 12.
The Mahadeepa will be hoisted atop the temple between 12 am and 12.30 am, said reports.
The decision in this regard was taken in a meeting attended by the representatives of the temple, officials of the district administration, local police and the local sarpanch under the Chairmanship of Athgarh Sub-Collector Ajambar Mohanty, on Thursday.
"In order to avoid social gathering on Maha Shivaratri, Section 144 will be clamped in and around Dhabaleswar Temple from 6 am on March 11 to the next morning. Besides, the nitis (rituals) of the Lord will be performed by the priests only and adequate police force will be deployed in the temple to ensure outsiders did not enter the shrine," informed Mohanty.
The Bhadrak district administration has also decided to clamp prohibitory orders under Section 144 at the Akhandaleswar Mahdev Temple in Aradi on the occasion of Maha Shivaratri from 7 am on 10 March to 7 am on 12 March in order to prevent gathering and congregation of devotees during the pandemic.
On the other hand, the Pankodhhara Ekadasi on March 9 and Jagara Jatra on March 11, respectively will be held amid strict adherence to Covid-19 protocols at Lokanath Temple in Puri. Limited number of sevayats will be allowed to carrying out the Pankodhhara Ekadasi rituals while the devotees will be allowed to have darshan of the Shivling from outside 'Gambhira' of the temple.
Similarly, devotees will be allowed to have darshan of the deity between 4 am to 12 am which was previously allowed from midnight. This was decided in a meeting held between officials of the district administration and temple body yesterday.
"Amid the reports of resurgence of Covid-19 cases and in view of the protocols laid down by the State government, the rituals of Pankodhar Ekadasi will be performed by limited number of sevayats and people will be allowed to have the darshan of the Shivalinga from outside the 'Gambhira'," said Puri Sub-Collector Bhabatarana Sahu after the meeting.
"There will be no Bhajan and cultural programmes on Maha Shivaratri. Thermal screening of the devotees will be done at the entrance. Vendors coming from outside to sell diyas and dhupas in the temple will not be allowed in the premises of the shrine," added Sahu.