Devotees on Friday broke the security barricade in front of the Shree Jagannath Temple in Puri for a darshan of Lord Jagannath and his siblings — Lord Balabhadra, Devi Subhadra — leading to a stampede-like situation.
The devotees were eager to witness the Suna Vesha (the deities adorned with gold ornaments) on the occasion of Dol Purnima.
There was a long queue since Friday morning stretching from the temple to the Market Square, which is nearly half a kilometre away.
As the mercury soared, the devotees tried to inch closer to the temple.
When a few servitors entered the temple from a special gate marked for them, the devotees broke the security cordon and tried to forcibly enter the shrine.
Some devotees fell down and got trampled. However, they suffered minor injuries and were rescued with the help of other devotees.
Additional police force rushed to the spot and brought the situation under control.
Huge rush near the entry gate. Sarat Kumar Patra
One of the temple police officers on duty said: “We had only a few entry points marked for the servitors. The devotees were desperate to have a darshan of the deities. Though we tried to ensure discipline, none listened to us and broke the cordon to enter the shrine.”
“The situation could have been avoided had the temple administration made elaborate arrangements for a smooth darshan. Perhaps the administration had not expected such a huge crowd,” said a devotee.
There has been a rush of devotees at the temple since it reopened to the public onFebruary 1.
More people are expected to throng the 12th-century shrine on Saturday on the occasion of Holi.