BHUBANESWAR: The Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) in Puri on Wednesday announced to reopen the 12th century shrine for devotees on August 16.
Devotees must show final dose vaccination certificate or RT-PCR negative report for the temple entry.
The temple will remain closed on Saturdays and Sundays in view of weekend shutdown in Puri. In the wake of Covid second wave, the shrine has been shut for devotees since April 24.
In the first phase, the SJTA has decided to allow only the residents of Puri town or the municipality area for darshan of the deities on priority from August 16 to 20. The doors of the temple will open for all devotees from August 23.
“We will issue a standard operating procedure (SOP) about the darshan system. Kiosks will be set up outside the temple to check the final dose certificates or RT-PCR negative reports of the devotees. While the temple will remain closed on Saturdays and Sundays, we will also shut the shrine on the occasions of major festivals to prevent heavy rush of devotees,” SJTA’s chief administrator Krishan Kumar said.
The darshan schedule has been fixed from 7 am to 8 pm on the weekdays. Devotees have been advised not to offer bhog or light diya in the temple. The shrine body also appealed to the devotees not to touch the idols or any structure on the temple premises.
“We will conduct a Covid testing camp for all servitors before the reopening of the temple. The servitors and temple staff, who had taken part in recent Rath Yatra after testing negative for Covid-19 virus, would undergo the test again. A special door-to-door campaign will also be launched to check if all the servitors and their families have been vaccinated,” Kumar said.
In the wake of Covid first wave last year, the government had closed Jagannath temple for devotees on March 20, 2020 and reopened on December 23, 2020 only for servitors and their family members. Devotees from Puri municipality area were allowed darshan from December 26 till 31 before the shrine’s door was opened for all from January 3 this year.