The Jagannath Temple in Puri, which was closed for nine months in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, reopened for devotees on Wednesday. The first darshan of the sibling deities – Lord Balabhadra, Devi Subhadra and Lord Jagannath, began at 7 am in compliance with Coronavirus-related protocol.
On the first three days (December 23, 24 & 25), servitors and their family members will be allowed to enter the temple for darshan with strict adherence to COVID-19 norms, Puri Collector Balwant Singh told reporters.
The residents of Puri will get the next opportunity to enter the temple from December 26 till December 31 evening, officials said.
The Temple remained closed since the middle of March due to the outbreak of the pandemic. This is for the first time in the history of the 12th century Lord Vishnu shrine that the devotees were denied the opportunity for having ‘darshan’ of the deities, the officials said.
The temple will again remain closed on January 1 and 2 in view of the rush of devotees for the New Year, the official said, adding that the temple will be opened for all devotees from January 3.
Guidelines for visiting Jagannath temple-
1. Devotes will be allowed entry into the temple after proper checking of identity proof.
2. Devotees will sanitise their hands at the temple gate before entering the shrine. Social distancing and wearing of face masks is mandatory.
3. All devotees need to produce a COVID-19 negative report of test done in the last 48 hours from January 3 to enter the temple.
4. No offerings of flowers, tulsi (basil leaves) and other such items will be allowed inside the temple.
5. People of Puri do not need a COVID-19 negative certificate as the administration is aware of the coronavirus status of the local people.
6. The district administration has prepared a ward-wise schedule for the people of Puri for the darshan of the deities.
7. The residents of each ward in Puri Municipality area will be given a specific date and time to have darshan of the deities.
8. As per the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) prepared for the smooth darshan of devotees, the people would enter through Singhadwara (Lions Gate) of the Temple and exit through any of the other three gates.
9. Barricades are raised along the Badadanda from Marichikot Chhak in nine rows to avoid rush in the temple.
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