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Puri’s Jagannatha temple to reopen from August 16

Puri’s Jagannatha temple to reopen from August 16

Fully vaccinated certificate or 96-hours-old RT-PCR negative report has been made mandatory for entry

Shree Jagannatha Temple Administration (SJTA), on Wednesday announced that the 12th century shrine will reopen in a phased manner from August 16 for Puri locals, and later for devotees from the rest of the country.

“For the first five days from August 16 to August 20, only the residents of Puri town will be allowed to go inside the temple for darshan of the Lords,” said SJTA Chief Adminstrator Krishan Kumar.

Devotees from outside Puri and the state will be allowed entry from August 23, since the temple will remain closed for on Saturdays and Sundays due to the weekend shutdown in Puri, Mr. Kumar added.

The temple will operate from 7 am to 8 pm on weekdays, and all devotees will have to either produce certificate showing two doses of the Coronavirus vaccinations or an RT-PCR negative test report conducted at least 96 hours ago.

Other basic restrictions fixed by the temple authority include face masks, and social distancing both inside and outside temple, without crowding. Arrangements have also been made for hand sanitization while entering into the temple, an official said.

The decision to reopen was declared by Kumar, after presiding over a meeting of the Chhattisa Nijog (apex body of servitors).

Apart from the weekend shutdown, the devotees will not be allowed to enter the temple for two-days during the Janmashtami festival on August 30, Kumar said.

This year, the divine trinity- Lord Balabhadra, Devi Subhadra and Lord Jagannath’s annual Ratha Yatra and major rituals associated with the festival were observed in absence of devotees due to the pandemic.

Meanwhile, almost all major places of worships reopened for the public from Wednesday after the state government started unlock process from August 1.

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