Puri: Emotions ran high in the Temple Town of Puri as District Collector Balwant Singh on Friday announced re-opening of the Jagannath Temple from December 23. The devotees will again be able to have a darshan of the Mahaprabhu inside the temple which was closed for the last nine month due to coronavirus.
Talking to media, Singh said keeping the COVID-19 protocol in mind it has been decided that on the first two days, servitors and their families would be allowed to have a darshan of the deities. This would be followed by residents of different Wards in Puri town. They will be allowed entry in a phased manner.
The decision to allow locals first has primarily been taken as we know the COVID-19 graph of local areas which would be helpful in keeping the virus from spreading.
He said till the year end (December 31), different Wards of Puri town will be allotted timings and the residents can visit in that slot by showing their I-cards. The Collector also requested devotees to follow the social distancing guidelines and other Covid norms.
All the religious institutions in Puri will also reopen on the days. For this, local Tehsildars and IICs will make necessary arrangements after a meeting.
Entry of outsiders will be allowed from January 3 and a Covid-19 negative report is likely to be made mandatory for all. While masks and other Covid-19 protocols will be strictly enforced, a special queue system is likely to be introduced to regulate the crowd.
The announcement comes days after Chattisa Nijog recommended reopening of temple for darshan by devotees from December 23 in a gradual and phased manner.