The wait for devotees has finally come to an end as the Jagannath temple in Puri reopened for all devotees on August 23. The shrine shut on April 24 amid the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic that had gripped the entire nation. And after four months, with cases falling in the region, the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) decided to reopen the shrine. This was carried out in a phased manner—on August 12, the temple was reopened for the families of the temple’s servitors, and on August 16, the shrine was opened for residents of Puri, reports Hindustan Times.
As reported by News18, all devotees can now visit the shrine between 7 am and 7 pm. Visitors need to be inoculated with both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine or present a negative RT-PCR certificate conducted no longer than 96 hours before the visit.
Other necessary precautions include wearing masks, using a sanitiser and following social distancing norms. Along with these, people also need to carry a photo ID such as their Aadhaar or voter ID cards. And as an extra precautionary measure, devotees aren’t allowed to touch any idols or statues inside the temple.
Around 50,000 devotees of the Puri municipality visited the temple in the last one week when its doors opened for Puri residents, reports Zee News. SJTA Chief Administrator Krishan Kumar said that the temple will remain closed on major festive occasions to prevent the risk of virus spread, reports Times Now News. “Devotees can have darshan from 7 am to 7 pm on weekdays, from Monday to Friday. The temple will remain closed for public darshan on all Saturdays and Sundays,” he added.
While Kumar assured that arrangements have been made for smooth darshan for as many as 30,000 devotees, he also requested everyone to adhere to COVID-19 protocols. To keep safety in check, Puri‘s Superintendent of Police, Kanwar Vishal Singh, added that 12 platoons with 30 personnel each have been deployed inside and outside the temple, writes Deccan Herald.
With phase two opening the doors of the shrine to devotees again, precautions have been taken seriously to prevent COVID-19 spread. The Puri Police have also set up a feedback centre for devotees to help provide better services to visitors.
Source: Travel and Leisure