Sun Temple

Covid negative report must for entry to Puri Jagannath Temple

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 In response to the increase in coronavirus transmission, the Shree Jagannath Temple administration (SJTA) made RT-PCR negative reports mandatory for pilgrims from outside the State to enter the shrine. According to the temple administration’s revised Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), all devotees coming in from other states will be required to produce Covid-19 negative reports generated within 96 hours of their arrival. Alternatively, those who have received both doses of vaccine may show their vaccination certificate. Locals, on the other hand, will be exempted from this rule.

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) recently decided to close all centrally protected monuments and museums until May 15 due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases across the country. According to a statement issued by the apex body in charge of heritage monument preservation in the country reads “Due to the current COVID situation, it has been decided to close all the Centrally protected monuments/ sites and museums under Archaeological Survey of India with immediate effect and until 15th May 2021 or until further orders.”

Puri Jagannath ttemple
Ouri Jagannath temple

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Last year, on March 17, all ASI sites were also closed to reduce the health risks posed by the coronavirus.The ASI manages and protects 3,691 monuments throughout the country, including 143 ticketed sites. Odisha has 80 Centrally Protected Monuments and three museums run by ASI in Ratnagiri, Lalitgiri, and Konark. Among the monuments are the Sri Jagannath temple in Puri, the Lingaraj temple in Bhubaneswar, and the Sun Temple in Konark.

Meanwhile the new SOP, which was devised following a virtual meeting with Chhatisha Niyog earlier in the day by SJTA Chief Administrator Dr Krishan will go into effect on April 19. The meeting was attended by Puri Collector and also members of the managing body. Devotees who want to enter the Srimandir must show their Aaadhar or photo ID cards at the Simhadwara (Lion gate). While devotees can enter through Simhadwara, they must exit through one of the other three gates.

The SOP also stated that the temple would be closed to devotees on Saturdays and Sundays. It was previously only closed on Sundays for sanitization. Though the temple will be closed on weekends, the temple’s servants will continue to perform their duties. Devotees, on the other hand, can have darshan of the deities from the “Bahar Kanth” and return. Three security teams would enforce minimum social distance norms among devotees from the barricades to the temple’s exit. Apart from that, every devotee should wear a proper face mask, sanitise their hands, and not touch or carry anything in the temple.

The SOP further sad that the temple complex, including the barricades, would bel be sanitised on Sunday, and interiors will be cleaned twice a week after all rituals had been completed. It was also decided to undertake sanitisation of the Badadanda. As several important festivals and rituals, such as Chandan Yatra and Ram Navami, the day construction of three chariots for the annual Rath Yatra would be initiated by carpenters, approach, the temple administration has taken adequate precautions to protect the servitors.

The closed Covid care centre at Nilachal Bhakta Nivas will reopen on Saturday, where infected servitors will be treated in isolation. Similarly, the Puri administration is keeping a close eye on service members and their families returning from the Haridwar Kumbh Mela.

Lingaraj Temple
Lingaraj temple, PC-Puja Rakshit, CC BY-SA 4.0

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Khurda district administration which is a part of the Lingaraj Trust, stated that the State government has not yet issued a directive to close the temple to devotees. The Lingaraj temple administration is currently preparing to host Lord Lingaraj’s Rukuna Ratha Yatra on the occasion of Ashokastami on April 20. While devotees will not be permitted to participate, the chariot will be pulled by only servants and police officers in accordance with Covid guidelines issued by the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation.

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