The holy shrine of Lord Jagannath in Puri, Odisha, which was shut due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has reopened after nine months. The temple has been shut for the devotees since March 2020.
Puri: Srimandir reopens after 9 months owing to #Covid19 pandemic; servitors and their families having darshan of the Holy Trinity at the 12th-century shrine. Residents of Puri town will get the chance to visit the temple from December 26 to 31 #Odisha pic.twitter.com/t4APD8POvr— OTV (@otvnews) December 23, 2020
According to local news reports, only the sebayats (temple servitors) and their kin would be allowed darshan today and the coming two days. The temple will open it doors for the residents of Puri from December 26 to 31.
The Puri district administration and the Shree Jagannath Temple Committee (SJTA) have made elaborate arrangements to ensure devotees adhere to all the Covid-19 safety norms and protocols strictly amid the ongoing pandemic situation. A ward-wise list has been prepared by the district administration which would be followed strictly while letting devotees enter the shrine for darshan.
While darshan in Srimandir will begin from 7.30 am on December 26, only the residents of Wards No 2/3/6/9/11/12/15 have been allowed. In the subsequent days, residents of other wards would be allowed, but only in a phased manner.
In view of this pandemic situation, entry of elderly people above the age of 65 and children below the age of 10 has been prohibited.
The servitors and all other devotees would need to compulsorily need to carry their Aadhaar or voter identity cards for verification, without which they would not be allowed to enter the shrine. The family of the servitors have also been asked to carry their health insurance card along with them. The devotees will be allowed to enter the temple only after checking ID proof and hand sanitisation. Special counters would be set up to verify the documents and photographs of the people entering the shrine would also be clicked at these counters.
According to reports, devotees from other districts and outside the state would be allowed to darshan from January 3, 2021.
Lord Jagannath temple in Puri is one of the four major Dhams for Hindus
Odisha is known as the land of Jagannath. The word Jagannath literally means “The Lord of the Universe”. For the Vaishnava Hindus, Srimandir or the Jagannath temple is one of the four major Dhams (the pilgrimage circuit encompassing four important temples in India namely Puri, Rameswaram, Dwarka, and Badrinath). Lord Jagannath, Devi Subhadra and elder brother Balabhadra are worshipped in Puri. The deities are seated on the Bejeweled Pedestal (Ratna Simhassana).
Ratha Yatra is a Hindu festival associated with Lord Jagannath held at Puri. It is the oldest Ratha Yatra taking place in India and the World, whose descriptions can be found in Brahma Purana, Padma Purana, and Skanda Purana and Kapila Samhita. This year, due to the ongoing pandemic, the Supreme Court had initially put a stay on the Rath Yatra festival. Later, the apex court had modified its 18th June order of absolute stay on Puri Rath Yatra and allowed it under conditions.