Puri: The Sri Jagannath Temple is likely to re-open for general darshan by devotees from January 3, informed Sri Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) Chief Administrator Krishan Kumar here today.
“We will be recommending to the State government for re-opening Sri Mandir for darshan by devotees within two-three days. After getting permission from the government it will take us five-six days to make preparations for allowing darshan of the deities. We are hopeful of allowing darshan by devotees any day between 25, 26, 27, 28. We will be informing all through you after finalizing the date upon receiving the decision of the government,” elaborated Kumar while briefing reporters after a meeting of the Chhattisa Nijog (apex body of temple servitors).
He said they will be recommending the government to allow devotees/residents of Puri to have the darshan of the Lords in the initial four-five days after re-opening as it was possible to hold the Rath Yatra because of their wholehearted cooperation.
Secondly, it has been decided at the Chhattisa Nijog meeting to keep the temple closed for darshan by devotees on January 1 and 2 in view of the large crowd of devotees expected on these days taking past experience into account, he added.
“Presently, we are not in a position to manage lakhs of devotees on the occasion of New Year,” the SJTA Chief Administrator said.
“Darshan by devotees will again start from January 3. From this day arrangements will be made for darshan by devotees coming from Puri as well as from outside,” he explained.
Kumar said that initially a maximum of 5,000 devotees on a day will be allowed for darshan of the Lords from January 3.
“If we feel that we are able to handle and all have learned the protocol then we will go for increasing the number of devotees allowed for darshan,” he added.
“In the first phase when darshan will begin from January 3 ‘Covid Negative Certificate’ will be required for devotees coming from outside Puri to have darshan,” informed the SJTA Chief Administrator.
Use of sanitizers and masks will be required for devotees going for darshan of the deities, he added.
He said that sanitizers will be provided to devotees at the four entrances of the temple.
Worth mentioning, the temple has remained closed for over eight months for the Covid-19 pandemic.