PURI: With relaxation of Covid restrictions across the State, the Sri Jagannath temple managing committee finalised a new standard operating procedure (SOP) for devotees on Wednesday. The committee decided that since the pandemic situation has been brought under control, the darshan time for devotees will be extended by two hours from 7 am to 9 pm from Thursday. The temple will remain open for devotees on Saturdays. However, the 12th century shrine will be out of bounds for devotees every Sunday for sanitisation of the temple complex.
As per the new SOP, devotees have to enter Srimandir through the Lion’s Gate and exit through North gate. They could light diyas at the designated places of the temple. The devotees have also been allowed to carry flowers and bhogs which will be placed at a pre-designated place earmarked by the temple administration. Partaking of Mahaprasad at a designated place at Anand Bazaar has been allowed.
However, devotees cannot touch deities or artifacts in the temple complex. Those wishing to enter the Srimandir would have to furnish their complete vaccination certificate or RT-PCR negative test report obtained within 96 hours prior to darshan at the entrance gate. It was also decided that Sri Jagannath temple will remain closed for devotees on important festival days like Ganesh Puja on September 10, Bamana Janma on September 17, Mahalaya on October 6, Dussehra on October 15 and Kumar Purnima on October 20.
The new SOP will remain in force till October, stated a release issued by the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) on the day. SJTA Chief Administrator Dr Krishan Kumar presided over the meeting which was attended by Puri Collector Samarth Verma, SP K Vishal Singh and other members of the temple managing committee through video conferencing.