Coronavirus scare: Restrictions imposed on servitors, devotees at Puri Srimandir

Puri: In the wake of rapid spread of novel coronavirus across the country, Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) today decided to impose restrictions at the centuries old Srimandir in Puri.

As per the decision taken at Chhatisa Nijog meeting today, the servitors will perform their duties by wearing mask inside the temple.

The servitors have been advised to wash their hands frequently and not to spit paan in public places. They have been asked not to touch their eyes, nose and mouth as part of precautionary measure for COVID-19.

Sources said that the mass congregation will be restricted at Aruna Stambha outside the temple.

The restrictions will also be imposed on devotees entering into the Jagannath Temple for darshan. With enforcement of the guidelines for prevention of deadly virus, the devotees will be prohibited from touching the Aruna Stambha installed outside the temple and Garuda Stambha inside the shrine.

Sources said that the devotees will be barred from darshan of deities from the Jagamohan. As per decision, the darshan from Bhitar Katha will be closed till April 15.

Besides, the temple authorities have decided to impose restrictions on huge gathering at Ananda Bazaar.

The meeting was attended by Puri Collector, SP, SJTA Chief Administrator and servitors at SJTA office in Puri.

Speaking to mediapersons, SJTA Chief Administrator Krishan Kumar urged to avoid visiting Srimandir for a brief period amidst COVID-19 scare.

He said that a set of rules has been prescribed for the devotees, who want to visit Srimandir despite restrictions.

“We are prescribing a set of precautions for those who want to visit temple. Firstly, a declaration form needs to be filled and submitted by the devotees before entering into the temple for darshan. Secondly, the devotees will enter into the temple in a queue. The system will be implemented inside the temple for entry and exit. In this regard, we are discussing with Puri SP to ensure a gap of at least 1.5 metre to 2 metre for devotees to enter into the temple in queue,” Kumar said.

“Apart from darshan, we will impose restrictions on performing special puja to avoid gatherings inside the temple. The devotees, who want to conduct puja on premises of the shrine can do it at their houses or outside the temple,” he added.

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