The Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) has issued the standard operating procedure (SOP) for different categories of people visiting the 12th century Lord Jagannath Temple in Puri for public darshan from August 16.
The darshan timings will be from 7 am to 7 pm on all days and the residents of Puri Municipality area will be allowed entry for darshan of the Lords from August 16 to 20. All devotees will be allowed entry for darshan of the lords from August 23. However, the temple will remain closed for public darshan on all Saturdays and Sundays during shutdown as a measure to contain the spread of Coronavirus disease and in order to sanitise the temple premises.
The temple will also remain closed on major festive occasions in order to avoid any spike in transmission of COVID-19 on account of huge gatherings that are expected on such festive occasions. Accordingly, the temple will remain closed on August 30 (Janmashtami) and September 10 (Shree Ganesh Chaturthi).
In a notification, the SJTA rolled out the SOP for the servitors' families, local residents of Puri and devotees from within the state and outside.The temple which remained closed since April 24 this year in view of threat of spread of COVID-19, will reopen as per the state government’s order. The SJTA has been directed to decide on the reopening of Shree Jagannatha Temple for public darshan in consultation with the concerned stakeholders and in compliance of COVID safety protocols and appropriate restrictions.
SJTA Chief Administrator Krishan Kumar said after detailed discussions and considering all the connected matters, it was decided to open the temple from August 16 under strict guidelines. The temple will be opened gradually for entry of the general public from August 16. However, on August 12 and 13 family members of the sevaks will be allowed darshan of the Lords.
"This situation will be reviewed again for the month of October 2021 or as required,” Kumar said.
For the general public, it has been made mandatory for all devotees to wear masks at all times, inside and outside the temple, sanitise hands before entering into the temple, maintain physical distance at all times as per COVID-19 guidelines and follow Covid appropriate behaviour.
All devotees visiting the temple will have to produce the Final Certificate for COVID-19 vaccination (of having taken two doses) or COVID-19 negative certificate (RTPCR) of testing done within 96 hours prior to their visit to the Temple, the SOP said, adding that people will be required to bring their photo ID Card, namely, Aadhaar/Voter ID.
Devotees are also requested not to touch statues or idols inside the temple. It is prohibited to take flowers and deepa(lamp) inside the temple. There will be big containers placed at the entrance, where such items can be dropped, if being carried by the devotees, the SOP said.
Lighting of the deepas (lamps) inside the temple by the devotees will not be permitted at all while chewing of tobacco/ paan and spitting inside the temple premises is strictly prohibited. A fine of Rs 500 will be levied for each violation, the SOP said.
This apart, there is a complete ban on carrying polythene bags inside the temple. A fine of Rs 100 will be levied for each violation, it said, adding that there will be no partaking of Mahaprasad inside Ananda Bazar and the temple premises. However, the devotees can carry Mahaprasad and partake it at their place of residence or any other convenient place.
There will be a separate queue for differently-abled devotees, for darshan of the Lords. Parking of the vehicles will be done only at Jagannatha Ballav Math premise or any other designated place, it said.
The SJTA advised senior citizen (above 65 years) /persons having co-morbidities, persons with co-morbidities, pregnant women and children below 10 years not to visit the temple in view of the prevailing Covid-19 situation.
The family members of servitors will be allowed darshan from Mangal Alati till Rati Pahuda through any of the gates. While entering into the temple, they are required to produce their health insurance card /any other ID card issued by SJTA along with photo ID Card like, Aadhaar, Voter ID Card, etc.
Entry of non servitors devotees accompanying the Sevak family members, if any, will not be allowed, it clarified.
The people of Puri Municipality area will be allowed to enter the temple from August 16 to August 20. The residents of Puri Municipality area will be allowed entry for darshan of the Lords from 7 am to 7 pm.
Devotees will make entry through the barricades opposite to the shoe stand, situated on North-East side of the temple complex.
All devotees will enter through Singhadwar (Lion’s Gate). After the darshan, the exit will be through Uttaradwar (north gate). The queue system will open from 7 am from August 23. The devotees will make entry through the barricades opposite to the shoe stand, situated on North-East side of the temple complex.
Devotees will leave their belongings at the designated place outside the temple, produce their ID proof for verification and follow the COVID-19 guidelines of hand sanitization and thermal scanning before entering the temple.
The above guidelines will be reviewed periodically and revised instructions will be issued from time to time to further facilitate darshan by devotees and also for management of COVID-19 pandemic, it said.
With PTI inputs