The Sun Temple in Konark, an ASI-protected monument accorded UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984, was thrown open for tourists on Monday after the popular tourist destination was shut for tourists amid a spike in COVID-19 positive cases in June.
The protected archeological site was opened for tourists amid strict COVID-19 protocols after a gap of nearly three and a half months. The decision to allow tourists’ entry was taken in the wake of a steady decline of Covid-19 cases and a positivity rate dipping below 2% for the second successive day.
Earlier the State government had eased the restriction on visits to tourists’ destinations including the ASI-protected sites in a revised unlock protocol issued for August.
2000 tourists will be allowed to enter the temple twice a day in the forenoon and afternoon. The sporting of face masks and use of hand sanitizer has been made mandatory with ASI making provision of thermal screening of visitors in accordance with the COVID-19 guidelines of the union health ministry.
Tourists can buy tickets online or scan the barcode in front of the temple on their mobile phones for entering the temple. However, the guides, photographers, and handicraftsmen are not allowed to do their daily trade, said, officials.
The 13th century Sun Temple, intricately built as a huge solar chariot with 12 pairs of ornamented wheels dragged by seven horses, is a hugely popular tourists destination of the State.