One of the holy Char Dham sites, Puri Jagannath Temple is all set to reopen its doors to the devotees from August 16 after being shut for more than three months in the wake of the second wave of COVID-19 in India.
Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) announced the reopening of the temple to devotees in a graded manner – only the locals will be allowed to visit the Puri Jagannath temple for the first week, and people from outside Puri will have to wait a week longer till August 23 for the darshan of Lord Jagannath.
The temple administration enumerated a set of COVID-related guidelines to ensure the safety of devotees visiting this famous temple in India. SJTA mandated vaccination certificates for the fully vaccinated and a negative RT-PCR test report (not older than 96 hours) for the unvaccinated as well as the partially vaccinated.
SJTA also stated that Puri Jagannath temple would remain closed every Saturday and Sunday as long as the weekend lockdown is in effect in Puri. Apart from the weekend, the shrine will also be closed on the occasion of major Indian festivals like Janmashtami (August 30) to avoid large gatherings. For now, darshan timings will be 7 am to 8 pm from Monday to Friday.
Krishna Kumar, the Chief Administrator of SJTA, is quoted saying, “We will issue a standard operating procedure (SOP) about the darshan system. Kiosks will be set up outside the temple to check the final dose certificates or RT-PCR negative reports of the devotees.”
Another famous tourist attraction in Puri – the iconic Konark Sun Temple – also started welcoming the public on the 2nd of this month as the Odisha Government eased COVID-19 restrictions allowing the reopening of religious institutions from August 1.