The Jagannath Temple in Puri reopened today after being closed for nine months due to the coronavirus-forced lockdown. The Jagannath Temple administration said the decision on reopening the temple was taken keeping in view the religious sentiments of the devotees and COVID-19 protocol will be strictly followed. Local people in Puri will be allowed for darshan for the first few days after reopening. The Jagannath Temple will remain closed on January 1 and 2 as there is a possibility of the rush of devotees to the temple town on New Year’s Day.
“Jai Jagannath…After 9 months, Shri Jagannath Temple is opening today for devotees in a phased manner. Humble request to all to devotees follow COVID-19 guidelines…,” famous sand artist Sudarshan Pattnaik tweeted today along with a gif of his sand art of Lord Jagannath at Puri beach.
Jai Jagannath….. After 9 months, Shri Jagannath Temple is opening today for devotees in a phased manner . Humble request to all to devotees follow COVID-19 guidelines . My SandArt at Puri beach in Odisha. pic.twitter.com/5eUwjCeRZp
— Sudarsan Pattnaik (@sudarsansand) December 23, 2020
From January 3 onwards the temple will be open for all, according to a report in news agency PTI. Servitors of the Jagannath Temple will have to produce identity cards for entry into the shrine. The Odisha government on Monday said the process for reopening religious places in the state has started after the decline in single-day COVID-19 positive cases. District collectors in the state have been given the powers to take a decision on reopening the religious places in their respective districts after discussing with the stakeholders and making sure that the standard operating procedures are in place, Chief Secretary A K Tripathy said.
Odisha is a much sought after place not only for tourists but also for pilgrims from across the world. The state has over 8,000 temples, which are more than 100 years old, according to Anil Dhir, a history researcher. The Christian community in Odisha is also looking forward to the reopening of churches ahead of Christmas Day.