Puri: Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) has announced that in view of the prevailing corona situation across the country and the state as well, the 12th century shrine will remain closed on Saturdays and Sundays and made it mandatory for the devotees outside Odisha to produce COVID-19 negative certificates.
This was decided at the meeting chaired by SJTA Chief Administrator Krishan Kumar and attended by Collector, Puri; SP, Puri; Officials of Shree Jagannatha Temple Administration and Senior Servitors members.
Dr.Kumar said that detailed discussions were held on the implementation of guidelines laid down in the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for reopening of Shree Jagannath Temple as notified on December 22, 2020, subsequent order on January 11, 2021 and also April 3, 2021. The new SOP will come to effect from April 19, 2021 (Monday).
“It was unanimously agreed that there is a need to bring more restrictions in view of the rapid spread of COVID-19 across India in last few days,” he said adding that the Temple will remain closed for Public Darshan on all Saturdays & Sundays as a measure to contain the spread of Coronavirus disease and in order to sanitize the Temple premises.
He said all devotees visiting the temple from outside of Odisha State will be required to bring covID-19 negative Certificate (RT PCR) of testing done within 96 hours prior to their visit to the Temple or to produce a report on the 2nd dose of Anti-COVID vaccination.
Any other guidelines issued by the state government with respect to restrictions on persons coming from other States shall be scrupulously followed, he said. .
As per the SOP, all devotees will be required to bring their photo ID Card, namely, Aadhaar/ NVoter 1D or any other photo ID card for identification.
It is mandatory for all pilgrims to wear Masks at all times both inside & outside of the Temple. People flouting the norms will be fined if required, and will be refused entry to the temple, the SOP mentioned.
It said that “Darshan” of the Lords by the public/devotee will be allowed only from “Bahara Katha” (outer barricade) of the temple while the devotees should sanitize their hands before entering the Temple. There should be strict enforcement for ensuring COVID appropriate behavior by all concerned, it said
This apart, the devotees should maintain physical distance at all times as per COVID-19 guidelines and they are requested not to touch Statues or idols inside the Temple.
While chewing of Tobacco/ Paan and spitting inside the Temple premises is strictly prohibited, the SOP made provision of a penalty of Rs.500 for each violation.
This apart, there is a complete ban on carrying polythene bags inside the temple and a fine of Rs. 100 will be levied for each violation.
Lighting of “Deepas” (light) inside the Temple by the Devotees will not be permitted at all, it said adding that the devotees will be allowed to partake ‘Mahaprasad’ (bhog) inside ‘Ananda Bazaar’ and Temple premises at designated places only.
The entry of Devotees to the Temple in the Queue System will start from the barricades opposite to the Shoe Stand and all Devotees will enter through Singhadwar (Lions Gate). After the Darshan, the exit will be allowed through all the Dwaras (doors) except Singhadwar (East Gate).
The people who leave their belongings such as shoes, mobile and others at the Shoe stand located at the North-East side of the Temple are advised to exit from the Hasti (elephant) Dwara (North Gate) for easy & faster retrieval of their belongings.
“The above amendments to the standard operating procedures will come into force from 19.04.2021,” Dr.Kumar said adding that the SOP guidelines will be reviewed further from time to time, keeping in mind management of COVID-19 pandemic.