Sundays are not ‘off-days’ anymore for Puri-pilgrims

The Samikhsya Bureau

BHUBANESWAR: Much to the cheer of countless pilgrims, the Sri Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) has withdrawn its ban on entry of devotees to the temple on Sundays.

The restriction was imposed to carry out sanitation of the temple premises during Sundays in view of the pandemic.

“We have now decided to allow the devotees to have a darshan every day.

The sanitization of the temple premises, which used to be carried out on Sundays until now, will henceforth be done thrice a week after the closure of the temple in the night,” SJTA Chief Kishan Kumar announced.

He further declared that the devotees can have the mahaprasad in the Ananda Bazar and other designated places inside the temple by maintaining social distance.

SJTA has also issued a fresh set of guidelines, known as SOP, for the devotees that would come into force from Friday.

The darshan of the deities will start at 6 am and devotees have to wear masks, the SOP states.

“We request the devotees to maintain adequate physical distance and not touch the idols in the temple. Lighting of diyas (earthen lamps) will be allowed at designated places in the temple. The earlier darshan arrangement, exclusively for Puri residents, from 6am to 7am will be discontinued,” the temple Chief Administrator elaborated.

The temple was prohibited for entry of the devotees since March 20 last year following outbreak of the pandemic.

It was reopened on December 23 but for the families of servitors for the first three days following which devotees from Puri town were allowed entry from December 26 to 31.

The temple administration, on January 21, discontinued the mandatory rule for devotees to carry Covid-negative reports to be allowed entry and decided to keep the temple shut on Sundays for disinfecting its premises in view of the pandemic.