PURI: After nine long months, the wait was over as doors of Srimandir re-opened for devotees on Wednesday. On the first day, around 2,000 family members of servitors, mostly women, had darshan of the holy Trinity. Closed since March 20 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the affairs in Sri Jagannath temple were managed by servitors who performed all the nitees and rituals of the deities in absence of devotees. While the servitors were rendering services in the temple, their womenfolk was deprived of darshan of the Trinity.
The family members of servitors, who mostly reside around Srimandir, entered through three gates of the temple. The darshan was conducted in three phases. The first phase darshan began at 7.30 am and continued till 12 noon. This phase began after priests performed Mangal Arati, Tadap Lagi, Mailam, Abakash, Rosohoma, Suryapuja and the Trinity was dressed in new attire. Subsequently, Gopal Bhog was offered at 7 am.
The second phase darshan started from 12.30 pm till 4 pm and the third from 4.30 pm till closing of the temple gates for the day. The district administration ensured strict adherence to Covid- 19 norms like social distancing, wearing face masks and hand sanitisation. No untoward incident was reported on the day except when a Naga Sadhu suddenly appeared at the temple gate and ran inside the temple only to return after having darshan. Similarly, the temple’s security personnel restricted three women, who identified themselves as family members of servitors, from entering the temple.
There are around 10,000 servitors of Sri Jagannath temple belonging to 3,000 families. The administration has allowed family members of servitors to have darshan of the Trinity on the first three days from the temple’s reopening date. The residents of Puri town would be allowed darshan from December 26 to 31 after showing tokens issued by the administration at the temple entrance.
On the day, Sri Loknathdeb, Siruli Mahavir, harchandi, Beleswar, Balikapileswardeb and Ramchandi temples also reopened for devotees. Srimandir would, however, remain closed from December 31 midnight till January 2 next year. From January 3, devotees from outside Puri can have darshan of the deities. The devotees would have to produce Covid negative certificates obtained within 48 hours prior to darshan.