Bhubaneswar’s Lingaraj Temple to Reopen on December 27
The Lingaraj temple in Bhubaneswar, which was closed for over nine months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is all set to reopen and welcome devotees from December 27. This development comes soon after the state confirmed the reopening of Puri Srimandir from December 23.
Prem Chandra Chaudhary, the Commissioner of the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC), announced the decision stating, “In the first phase from 27th December to 31, only servitors and their family members would be allowed into the temple. The temple will remain shut for darshan on January 1 and 2 to avoid large congregation of devotees because of the New Year”.
On January 5, only the people of Bhubaneswar will be allowed into the temple. The temple will then permanently open its doors for the public from January 6. Nevertheless, the entry and darshan by the devotees will be stringently regulated because of the ongoing pandemic. Visitors have to produce a negative COVID-19 certificate (not older than 48 hours of visit) to be allowed inside the shrine.
“A screening camp will set up near the temple to facilitate testing for the devotees. The screening camp will remain open from 7 am to 10 pm every day. A maximum of 500 devotees will be allowed inside the temple at any given point of time to ensure proper implementation of Covid-19 guidelines,” said Chaudhary.
From January 3, all other temples and religious institutions in Bhubaneswar will also reopen. The administration of the shrines will have to appeal for approval to reopen by submitting an undertaking to the BMC regarding the rules established for adherence to COVID-19 guidelines. Further, the management will have to specify the area in which the shrines are located and the number of devotees to be permitted inside at a time.