Deori Mandir in Tamar, 60km from Ranchi, gears up for better Puja crowd management. Picture by Prashant Mitra
A temple of stone is leaving no stone unturned to prevent untoward incidents during this Durga Puja.
A lesson learnt from the Deoghar satsang stampede, which killed more than half a dozen devotees last month, Deori Mandir in Tamar — some 60km from Ranchi — has roped in 80 volunteers to streamline darshan from Mahasaptami on Sunday till Dashami or Dussehra on Wednesday.
“The temple is situated on a highway (NH-33). More than 40,000 people come to offer prayers. It is very important to ensure an effective crowd control mechanism to avoid traffic bottlenecks. We have trained around 80 local men and women for visitor management. The administration, on the other hand, has promised to deploy 35-40 jawans for foolproof security,” said senior panda Manoj Kumar.
He added that half a dozen special buses would also run to and from the temple for convenience of devotees.
Panda Barun Kumar said that there would be bamboo barricades to control separate queues for men and women. “We are also planning to install CCTV cameras inside the temple. Our preparations will be complete by Saturday night,” he said.
Deori Mandir, dedicated to a “solah bujhi (16-armed)” avatar of Durga, has hogged the devotional spotlight ever since Team India skipper M.S. Dhoni’s association with the temple became public.
Barun, however, rued that Dhoni was yet to help in expansion of the temple. “He promises donations every time he comes here to offer prayers. But, he never keeps his word,” the panda said.
While Captain Cool seeks the blessings of Mata Deori before big cricket matches, chief minister Arjun recently launched his Johar Yatra after a puja at the temple.
Taking a leaf out of history, senior panda Manoj said in the Mundari language, the word deori means stone. “And the idol and temple are both made of stone. They came into existence between 10th and 12th centuries,” he said.
On rituals, Manoj maintained that they will follow the book. “Bali (sacrifice) will take place on Mahaashtami. Around 1,000 goats will be sacrificed before the deity. Bhog will comprise of kheer made of pure milk,” he added.