Now, devotees from across the world can have Darshan of Lord Jagannath at the 12th century shrine in Puri.
However, the devotees have to produce the COVID-19 negative report in order to get an entry into the Puri shrine, one of the four major Dhams for Hindus.
The temple reopened for all devotees Sunday after remaining closed for nine months in wake of the pandemic even as Odisha Governor Ganeshi Lal preferred to have darshan of the deities from outside for not having the mandatory COVID-19 negative report for entry into the shrine.
The Governor, along with his family members and some staff, had to return the state capital after having darshan of “Patitapaban” (the symbolic image of Lord Jagannath seen from outside the temple) as they did not have the COVID-19 negative report, a senior official accompanying Prof.Lal.
Though there was no restriction on the entry of the Governor, who was welcomed by the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) and Puri District Administration, however Prof.Lal volunteered not to go inside on his own after knowing that all the devotees have to submit their COVID-19 Negative Report, a senior official.
The 12th century shrine started its reopening process in a phased manner from December 23. When the servitors and their family members were allowed to enter the temple till December 25, the local residents of Puri got the opportunity in the second phase from December 26 to December 31 evening.
The temple remained closed on January 1 and 2 to be opened for all devotees from across the country from Sunday.
About 17,000 devotees on the first day visited the temple after producing COVID-19 negative reports done within 96 hours and adhering to the COVID-19 guidelines.
The SJTA and the Puri District Administration has implemented a guideline for the devotees asking them to mandatorily wear face mask, sanitize hands, maintain physical distance at all times, not to touch statues or idols inside the temple.
This apart, It is prohibited to take flowers, bhoga, and deepa inside the temple. There will be big containers placed at the entrance, where such items can be dropped if being carried by the devotees, it said.
The devotees also cannot take mahaprasad (bhog) inside ‘Ananda Bazar’ and Temple premises while chewing of tobacco, paan and spitting inside temple premises is strictly prohibited.
The devotees enter the temple through a queue system and are required to produce their photo ID card like Aadhaar, Voter ID and others. They have to leave their belongings at the designated place outside the temple. They enter into the shine through Lions Gate and exit through north gate.
Meanwhile, the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) Administration in Bhubaneswar allowed the residents of the Capital city to enter Shree Lingaraj Shrine by adhering to the COVID-19 protocol.
Many temples in the State Capital and in other parts of the state also reopened for the devotes after a long gap of nine months.