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Sharmili Mallick

Berhampur: The Ganjam district administration has issued fresh guidelines for devotees visiting Tara Tarini Temple for darshan and for the ongoing Chaitra Mela in view of the rising cases of Covid-19 in the State as well as in the district.

As per the new Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), the Tara Tarini Temple will open for six days in the week. The temple will remain closed on Wednesdays for complete sanitisation of the shrine.

Similarly, night time sanitisation will be conducted twice a week after the closure of the temple for public darshan.

The district administration has prohibited the arrangement of feasts outside and in the nearby areas of the temple. This apart, the ritual of tonsuring children’s heads has also been banned at the Tara Tarini temple.

Every year during Chaitra Mela, devotees visit the temple every Tuesday (during mid-March to mid-April according to the English calendar) braving scorching sun and climbing hundreds of steps above the hill to participate in a special ritual to tonsure their babies and offer hair to the Goddess.

Meanwhile, lakhs of devotees thronged the temple through special buses provided by the district administration, ropeway and steps on the second Tuesday of Chaitra Mela yesterday. Devotees wearing masks made beeline to have darshan of the goddess.

However, the servitors of the temple claimed that as tonsuring ritual has been banned, the footfall of devotees has considerably declined during the mela.

(Edited By Rashmi Ranjan Mohanty)

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