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regular-article-logo Thursday, 25 July 2024

Devotee rush after Puri temple opens all 4 gates

The unprecedented rush was witnessed particularly after the BJP government threw open all four gates after it took oath on June 12

Subhashish Mohanty Bhubaneswar Published 18.06.24, 09:46 AM
A long queue of devotees at Puri Shree Jagannath Temple on Sunday.

A long queue of devotees at Puri Shree Jagannath Temple on Sunday. Picture by Sarat Kumar Patra

Puri’s Shree Jagannath Temple has been witnessing huge rush of devotees for the last seven days after all its four gates were opened for entry. Such was the rush that the police had to mobilise extra force to control the sudden surge of devotees.

The unprecedented rush was witnessed particularly after the BJP government threw open all four gates after it took oath on June 12. All four doors have been opened for the devotees since June 13. Following the outbreak of Covid in 2020, the administration closed three doors and opened only one door for the devotees.

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Given the sudden inflow of tourists to the temple and the stampede-like situation prevailing near the temple, the Mohan Majhi government has asked the district magistrate and the temple administration to ensure that no untoward incident takes place inside the temple. Senior police officials have been deployed to oversee crowd management.

Chief minister Mohan Charan Majhi today met the servitors of the Puri Jagannath Temple in Bhubaneswar and discussed the issues. The servitors assured the administration of their help.

Law minister Prithiviraj Harichandan today reviewed the situation. He directed the officials to ensure that the ongoing festivals associated with Lord Jagannath, including the Snana Yatra and Puri Rath Yatra, were smooth. “ We are closely monitoring the situation. The situation is under control,” said Harichandan.

This year, the Rath Yatra is scheduled to be held on July 7. Prior to that, the Snana Yatra will be held on June 21. (On the Snana Purnima, Lord Jagannath and his siblings— Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra — are carried to the Snana Bedi or the bathing stage. Here they are given a holy bath with 108 pitchers of water mixed with coconut water, scented extracts from flowers and others to bring them respite from the heat of the summer.) The administration expects the footfall of devotees to increase every day.

On Sunday, around two lakh devotees visited the Puri Shree Jagannath Temple. Such was the rush inside the temple that many people felt suffocated.

“We waited for nearly two hours to enter the shrine. There is also a huge rush inside the temple, making the waiting more miserable,” said one devotee Ramakanta Das.

Another devotee, Harihara Kar, said, “ The decision to open all four doors is good. But the government failed to anticipate that there would be such a huge rush. Because of the Raja Holidays, there was a rush in Puri.

Director general of police (DG) Arun Kumar Sarangi said, “At least 30 platoons of police force have been deployed in Puri to regulate the crowd movement. We
are preparing our crowd control plan.”

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