Visitors to the famous Jagannath Temple of Puri will not be required to produce negative COVID-19 reports from January 21, 2021. Other COVID-19 protocols like wearing masks and maintaining social distancing will continue to be followed. The announcement has been made by the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA). Presently devotees entering the temple have to show COVID-19 negative reports and identity cards.
The temple was opened for the residents of Puri from December 23, 2020. From January 03 2021, after remaining closed for nine months in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic the temple was opened for all pilgrims. The decision to reopen the temple after the lockdown was taken after Chhatisa Nijog, the apex body of the temple priests got a proposal approved by the state government recommending the reopening of the shrine in a graded manner.
A maximum of 5,000 devotees were being allowed to have daily darshan from January 03. The decisions to relax the restrictions (no COVID-19 report) will facilitate more devotees to get a darshan of the deities. According to the media reports the number is going to be increased to 30,000 daily from January 21. Additionally special arrangements and queue systems would be introduced for elderly/senior citizens coming to the Temple. The temple will remain closed on Sundays for sanitisation and disinfection of the premises. It is also advisable to check the visitor entry timings before planning a visit. After February 21, the temple management committee will review the situation and take the future course of action, the officials said.
While the servitors and their family members were allowed to enter the temple from December 23 to December 25 evening, the local residents of Puri got the opportunity to have darshan of the deities between December 26 and 31. The temple was finally opened to the public for darshan of the sibling deities - Lord Balabhadra, Devi Subhadra and Lord Jagannath from January 03, 2021 adhering to the COVID-19 guidelines.
Puri is one of the four "Dhams" or most sacred places of pilgrimages for the Hindus in the country. The four Dhams are Jagannath Puri in East, Dwarika in the West, Badrinath in the North and Rameswaram in the South. Shree Jagannath Temple of Puri is an extremely popular destination for Hindu devotees from India and abroad. The temple is dedicated to Shree Jagannath and was completed in 1161 CE. Rath Yatra is at the centre of this age-old temple, a festival that is celebrated with massive fanfare in the beach town of Puri. Do read the blog Puri Rath Yatra to know about the festival of chariots in detail.
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