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Jagannath temple open on Dec 31 night

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.

“Since all roads will lead to Puri on the New Year day, the temple’s sanctum sanctorum will not be closed on the previous night,” temple’s chief administrator Arvind Padhee told media persons. “Devotees can enter the sanctum sanctorum during sahanmela in morning. Schedule of the rituals has been finalized,” Padhee said.

“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.
Puri Jagannath temple
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.

Pilgrims, as expected, hailed the move. “It is indeed a good step. Pilgrims will get more time to have a darshan of the deities,” said Pramod Hota, a devotee.

The devotees, however, asked the temple body not to facilitate VVIP darshan on January 1. Significantly, the temple witnessed chaos and a stampede-like situation after the shrine body allowed elite visitors to go near the deities in the past.

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