Shut down for the past four months amid the raging 2nd wave of Coronavirus outbreak, the 12th century Jagannath temple in the pilgrim town of Puri reopened on Monday much to the joy of millions of followers of the Jagannath cult.
Earlier last week, the servitors and their family members besides the local residents of Puri town had been allowed entry into the shrine.
The holy shrine, a revered pilgrimage destination for millions of followers of the Jagannath cult across the globe, had been closed since 24 April as the State including the pilgrim town bore the brunt of pandemic infection and fatality.
Adhering to utmost caution to arrest the possible spread of infection, the temple authorities have made the production of double dose vaccination proof or negative RT-PCR test reports not older than 96 hours before the time of darshan mandatory.
“In a crowd control measure, the devotees are being allowed entry through Singhadwar and exit through Uttaradwar of the temple. For maintenance of law and order, 12 platoons of armed police have been deployed. Special arrangements have also been made for the hassle-free entry of differently-abled and elderly devotees into the holy shrine”, said Puri Collector, Samarth Verma.
Meanwhile, the authorities have urged the devotees to submit their feedback on police service at the temple either by submitting a form or through online QR code scanning systems installed at parking lots and other places.
“We urge all to give feedback and use this opportunity to further help us in improving the Hassle-Free Darshan Experience for devotees,” the Puri Police stated on its official Twitter handle.
The devotees are allowed temple visits from 7 am to 7 pm for five days from Monday to Friday. Due to the weekend shutdown, there will be no entry into the temple, said the temple authorities.
It may be recalled here that the famous Rath Yatra of the divine trinities was observed for two successive years without the presence of any devotees in accordance with Supreme Court directions. Besides other major festivals of the temple like Devasnana Purnima and Nagarjuna Besha were devotees-less affairs in view of the Coronavirus restrictions.
The Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA), the apex body of the 12th-century shrine, had earlier decided to keep the temple out of bounds for devotees from 24 April amid a rapid resurgence of COVID-19 in the coastal State.