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Puri Srimandir Unlikely To Reopen Before Mid December! 21st Century’s First Nagarjuna Besha Will Be Held Sans Devotees

Puri: While the demand for reopening of Puri Srimandir is growing louder with each passing day, chief administrator of SJTA Krishan Kumar Tuesday informed that arrangements are being made to open the 12th-century shrine for devotees by the second or third week of December 2020.

Following a preparatory meeting of the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) and other Nijogs today on the conduct of Nagarjuna Besha, Kumar said, “There are plans to reopen Puri Srimandir for devotees in the second or third week of December. Special standard operating procedures (SOPs) would be formulated for the devotees visiting the shrine, based on which required arrangements will be made.”

This means there is no hope for public darshan of the rare Nagarjuna Besha of Lord Jagannath on November 27, a spectacular ritual that will be held after a gap of 26 years. However, the Puri district administration would take a call on whether Patitapabana Darshan on that day is possible or no. “For now normal darshan as underway will continue. Restriction to be imposed on the day of Nagarjuna Besha is being planned,” said the Collector.

On the security arrangements in place, Kumar said, “We will ensure that no person other than the servitors attempts to enter the shrine. If someone is found trying to enter in the guise of servitors, stringent action would be taken. Mobile phones are prohibited during Nagarjuna Besha, therefore special arrangements will be made for checking of phones.”

The SJTA chief further informed that a three-layer security arrangement will be made at Srimandir for the first Nagarjuna Besha of the 21st century. Nagarjuna Besha of the Lord was last held in 1994.

The detailed timings of mega rituals have already been finalised. Dwaraphita is scheduled at 2 AM.

Earlier in the day, Congress MLA Tara Prasad Bahinipati with folded hands urged Speaker SN Patro to initiate necessary process for reopening all temples including the Jagannath Temple in Puri within 24 hours, stating that the livelihood of all servitors has been severely affected ever since the COVID-induced lockdown was enforced.

“If temples and religious places in Maharashtra and other States can be allowed to resume normal functions, why can’t temples in Odisha reopen?” Opposition chief whip Mohan Majhi questioned in the Assembly.

READ | Hope For Nagarjuna Besha Darshan Dashed, SJTA To Take 4 Weeks Of Preparations To Reopen Srimandir

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