Shut down for the past three weeks amid the raging 3rd wave of Coronavirus and Omicron variant, the 12th century Jagannath temple in the pilgrim town of Puri reopened on Tuesday much to the joy of millions of followers of the Jagannath cult.
The holy shrine, a revered pilgrimage destination for millions of followers of the Jagannath cult across the globe, had been closed since 10 January 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 report not older than 96 hours before the time of darshan mandatory.
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.
Devotees are allowed entry into the temple from 6 am to 9 pm on all days from February 1 except Sundays. People flouting the norms will be fined and may be refused entry to the temple.
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.