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SJTA Allows Normal Darshan

Puri: Dr.Krishan Kumar Chairman Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) on Sunday announced that the devotees will not be required to produce COVID-19 negative reports for getting entry into the 12th century shrine in Puri from January 21.
“The devotees can enter into the temple without having COVID-19 negative report from January 21. The decision will remain in force till February 21,” SJTA Chief Dr. Kumar told Media.
The decision in this regard was taken at a meeting of SJTA here on 10 January.
SJTA Chief Dr.Kumar chaired the meeting which was attended by Puri District Magistrate Samarth Verma and SP Kanwar Vishal Singh.
At present devotees entering the temple have to show COVID-19 negative report.
But, all the other COVID-19 protocols like wearing of mask, social distancing will continue to be mandatory in the temple, officials said.After February 21, the temple management committee will review the situation and take future course of action, the officials said.
Dr.Kumar said the SJTA has decided to relax the restriction which was imposed on temple entry for the general public.
The temple opened for public from January 3 after remaining closed for nine months in the wake of the Corona Virus pandemic.
The decisions to relax the restrictions (no COVID-19 report) will facilitate more devotees to get a darshan of the deities, officials said.
Puri District Collector Samarth Verma said that special arrangements and queue system will soon be introduced for elderly/senior citizens coming to the Temple.
The SJTA and District Administration is making arrangements to allow 30,000 devotees to visit the temple on a daily basis from January 21 adhering to COVID-19 protocol, officials said.
Mr.Verma said the temple will remain closed on Sundays to carry out sanitization and disinfection measures.
The temple was opened in a phased manner from December 23, 2020.
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 3, 2021 adhering to the COVID-19 guidelines.
Puri is one of the four “Dhamas” or most sacred places of pilgrimages for the Hindus in the country.
The four Dhamas are Jagannath Puri in East, Dwarika in the West,  Badrinath in the North and Rameswaram in the South.