Ramakanta Biswas

Puri: The prolonged wait of devotees for darshan of the Holy Trinity of Puri Jagannath Temple is finally going to end as the 12th-century shrine is all set to reopen tomorrow after a gap of several months owing to Covid-19 pandemic.

While servitors and their families will be allowed for darshan in the first three days, the residents of Puri town will get the chance to visit the temple from December 26 to 31.

The administration has made identity card mandatory for servitors as well as Puri residents to get permission to enter the shrine. Families of servitors have been asked to carry the health insurance card. In case of unavailability of the health card, they can furnish other identity cards to gain entry.

Similarly, token system has been introduced for Puri residents to streamline the darshan system. Puri Municipality will visit each ward and issue token in the name of head of the family. The district administration will decide the timing of visit of the ward residents. Locals have been asked to visit the temple only during the permitted time slot.

The city residents will be allowed entry from the barricade at Market Square after they produce their tokens. Later, they will have to produce their Aadhaar card or voter card.

The darshan will start at 7.30 am every day. The visitors will be allowed from the Singhadwar gate only, said the district Collector Balwant Singh.

"About 15 persons will be engaged in each shift to identify servitors entering the temple from dedicated gates. We have fixed timings throughout the day to ensure that discipline is maintained and all get the opportunity to have darshan. We are hopeful that equal distribution of visitors can be made in three shifts of four hours each day," Singh said.

However, furnishing of negative Covid-19 test report has been made mandatory for general darshan which will commence on January 3. In view of the pandemic, entry of children below the age of 10 years and elderly persons above the age of 65 have been prohibited.

Ballav bhog will be offered to the deities from January 3 and darshan will be allowed in night too.

The Sri Jagannath Sevayat Sammilani pointed out flaws in the arrangements made by the administration for darshan.

Kashinath Khuntia, secretary of Sri Jagannath Sevayat Sammilani said, "Baliapanda locals will have to travel 4 km to reach Srimandir. If they miss the time slot, they will be deprived of darshan."

"Allowing adults and discouraging visit of children is a faulty decision by the administration. The government should look into the matter and make arrangements accordingly," he added.

(Edited By Suryakant Jena)