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Puri temple open on Dec 31 night

Bhubaneswar, Dec. 9: The Jagannath temple administration in Puri, keeping in mind the huge gathering of devotees on New Year’s eve, has decided to keep the sanctum sanctorum open on the night of December 31.

This decision was taken at a meeting of the Chhatisa Nijoga (an apex body of 36 servitor groups) and the temple sub-committee on rituals.

Temple sources said more than six lakh devotees throng the shrine on New Year’s eve. The turnout is expected to increase this year.

“Most of the devotees visit the temple after midnight. So the temple administration has decided not to close the temple,” said public relations officer of the temple Laxmidhar Pujapanda.

During other days, the darshan of the deities ends by 11.30pm.

Similarly, the schedules for the pahili bhog, a special ritual of the deities between Dhanu Sankranti and the day before Makar Sankranti, were also decided during the meeting. The temple will open at 2am, while the pahili bhog will be served to the deities at 5am.

Temple sources said that during important occasions such as Kartik Purnima and the day prior to Rath yatra, the sanctum sanctorum remains open round the clock.

“After having discussions with the servitors, we finalised the schedule for the pahili bhog. The problems of the servitors were also discussed,” said chief administrator of the temple Arabinda Padhee.

The servitors, on their part, pledged their cooperation for smooth conduct of daily rituals. “We will ensure that the daily rituals are conducted on time,” said a servitor of the temple.