Jagannath Temple in Puri reopens for all devotees from today amid COVID-19 protocol

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The Jagannath Temple in Puri reopened its doors for all devotees starting Monday, 23 August. Visitors will be required to show a negative RT-PCR report not older than 96 hours, or proof of being fully vaccinated, to enter the temple.

The devotees will also be required to show identity proof, as per the administration. The temple will be open from 7 am to 8 pm, from Monday to Friday. The shrine will remain closed on weekends for sanitisation of the premises.

Restrictions would be placed on the number of devotees who can enter the temple in a day. Krishan Kumar, the chief administrator of the temple, said that the administration expects around 15,000-20,000 devotees per day.

The 12th-century temple in Odisha had been closed for over four months, following the second wave of the deadly coronavirus pandemic. The closure marked the Rath Yatra being held without devotees for the second time. The administration has said that the temple would be closed on major festivals in order to avoid crowding.

The temple reopened in phases, with the premises first being opened only to the family of the shrine’s servitors on 12 August. The residents of Puri were allowed inside the premises on 16 August.

The temple has constructed barriers to ensure that social distancing norms are followed by the devotees. Offerings are prohibited inside the temple and devotees have been asked not to touch the idols. At least eight kiosks have been established for ensuring proper sanitisation.

Apart from the Jagannath Temple, other places of worship in the state are also being allowed to reopen, such as the Akhandalamani temple in Bhadrak. The Lingaraj Temple in Bhubaneswar will reopen on 1 September.

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