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As the pandemic ebbs and flows, Indian government has progressively imposed numerous restrictions on public movement.

Several tourists and devotees have been deprived from partaking in pilgrimages and religious events. The highly revered Jagannath Temple at Puri, Odisha was one such place of worship which had locals as well as tourists barred from visitation until now.

Owing to a combination of India’s recovery from its second wave and to the fully immunised state of Odisha, the Puri Jagannath Temple has finally decided to open its doors to devotees.

Puri Jagannath reopening date

In a meeting between the SJTA (Shree Jagannatha Temple Administration) officials, the Chhatisa Nijog and the Chief Administrator of the temple, Krishan Kumar, the decision was made to gradually reopen the temple from 16 August for locals and from 23 August for those travelling from outside Puri.

On August 12 and 13, the family members of the Sevaks will be allowed darshan of the Lords. The residents of Puri Municipality area will be allowed entry for darshan of the Lords from August 16 to August 20.

As the weekend shutdown is still in effect in Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and Puri, devotees must take note that they will not be allowed to enter the temple during those days.

The temple will also remain closed on major festive occasions in order to avoid any spike in the transmission of COVID-19 on account of huge gatherings that are expected on such festive occasions. Accordingly, the temple will remain closed on 30 August (Krishna Janmashtami) and on 10 September (Ganesh Chaturthi). This matter will be reviewed again for the month of October 2021 or as required.

Puri Jagannath opening time

The temple will be open to devotees from 7 am to 7 pm on the days when they are allowed entry.

Entry requirements for pilgrims

The administration has made it compulsory for both fully vaccinated and partially vaccinated/unvaccinated visitors to provide specific kinds of evidence of being COVID-19 free.

Fully vaccinated devotees will have to produce a vaccine certificate but those partially vaccinated or unvaccinated will have to produce a negative RT-PCR test report taken in not less than 96 hours.

Apart from this, there is strict direction for visitors to follow COVID appropriate behaviour including:

  • Wearing masks at all times, inside and outside the temple.
  • Sanitizing their hands before entering the temple and not to touching the statues or idols inside the temple.
  • Maintaining physical distance at all times.
  • It is prohibited to take flowers/bhoga/deepa inside the Temple. There will be big containers placed at the entrance, where such items can be dropped, if being carried by the devotees.
  • Chewing of tobacco/paan and spitting inside the temple premises is strictly prohibited. A fine of Rs 500 will be levied for each violation.
  • There is a complete ban on carrying polythene bags inside the Temple. A fine of Rs 100 will be levied for each violation.
  • There will be no partaking of Mahaprasad inside Ananda Bazar and temple premises.
  • There will be a separate queue for differently-abled devotees, for darshan of the Lords.
  • Persons above 65 years of age, persons with comorbidities, pregnant Women and children below10 years are advised not to visit the Temple.

Guidelines for family members of Sevaks

  • Family members of Sevaks will be allowed darshan from Mangal Alati till Rati Pahuda through any of the gates.
  • While entering the temple, they are required to produce their health insurance card/any other ID card issued by SJTA along with photo ID Card like Aadhaar, Voter ID Card.
  • Entry of Non-Sevak devotees accompanying the Sevak family members will not be allowed.

Guidelines for residents of Puri Municipality

  • Devotees will make entry through the barricades opposite to the Shoe stand, situated on the North-East side of the temple complex.
  • Residents are required to produce their Photo ID Card bearing address (such as Aadhar/Voter ID) of all the members of the family who are visiting the Temple for Darshan of Lords.
  • All devotees will enter through Singhadwar. After the Darshan, the exit will be through Uttaradwar.

Guidelines for all devotees visiting the temple from 23 August

  • A queue system will open from 7 am. Devotees will make entry through the barricades opposite to the Shoe stand, situated on the North-East side of the temple complex.
  • All devotees visiting the Temple will have to produce the final certificate for COVID-19 vaccination proving they have taken two doses or RT-PCR negative certificate  done within 96 hours prior to their visit to the Temple.
  • All devotees will be required to bring their photo ID Card, namely, Aadhaar/Voter ID etc.
  • Devotees will leave their belongings at the designated place outside the temple; produce their ID proof for verification and follow the COVID-19 guidelines of hand sanitization & thermal scanning before entering the temple.
  • All devotees will enter through Singhadwar. After the Darshan, the exit will be through Uttaradwar.

Temple safety measures

The sanitisation of temple premises has been done during every weekend shutdown.

COVID tests of servitors, officials and other participants of this year’s Ratha Yatra will be carried out from August 8. Additionally, the SJTA Chief Krishan Kumar announced that a door-to-door campaign will be launched for the vaccination of sevaks, their families and other officials.

The guidelines above will be reviewed periodically and revised instructions will be issued from time to time to further facilitate darshan by devotees and also for management of COVID-19 pandemic.