[Watch] Devotees Throng Jagannath Temple In Puri Before It Closes Till Jan 31

Puri: The Shri Jagannath Temple will remain shut for devotees till January 31. On the last day of public viewing on Saturday before the closure, there was a large crowd in the temple town. The ‘darshan’ started from 5.30 am and will continue till 8.30 pm. Barricades have been put up near the temple office for crowd management. Night curfew will be in place from 9 pm.

On Sunday the temple will be sanitised and from Monday it will be completely shut. The decision has been taken after a meeting of the district and police administration with the temple management keeping in view rising cases of COVID-19. Some servitors and administrative staff have tested positive.

The temple was closed for extended periods during the first and second wave of Coronavirus.

A decision regarding the future course of action after January 31 would be taken later. People can only visit Patitapaban during the period of closure. For Mahaparasad, there will be token system in place at the north gate of the temple. Only servitors will be allowed to enter the temple. Even their family members are barred during this period.

Puri DM Samarth Verma said, “The temple is being closed for the safety of servitors and devotees. Patitapaban can be visited with social distancing norms in place.”

Senior servitor Binayak Das Mahapatra, however, expressed his displeasure at the move.

“Many things are open and working. Suddenly deciding to close the temple is going to put economic burden on the temple and the people of Puri associated with religious tourism and other activities. COVID might continue for 10 years. In that case better than complete closure, ‘darshan’ could have been allowed with strict adherence to protocols,” he said.

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