Amid the growing demand for opening of the four gates of the Jagannath Temple in Puri for the convenience of devotees, Law Minister Jagannath Saraka Odisha stated in the State Assembly on Saturday that all the four gates cannot be opened.
Answering a question by Sundargarh MLA Kusum Tete, the Minister said three gates that are currently closed for devotees cannot be opened at present.
“Entry of devotees into the temple through four gates was closed since March 20, 2020 due to Covid-19 restrictions. As the Srimandir Parikrama project is still underway, three gates cannot be opened for devotees,” Saraka informed.
He added that apart from the Singhadwar, the Government has opened the Paschim Dwar (west gate) for local residents to avoid excess crowd for entry into the temple. The devotees now take no longer time for darshan inside the temple except the days when entry is restricted into the temple for conduct of special rituals of deities.
Notably, all gates of the temple except Singhadwar were closed for devotees since the days of lockdown and shutdown restrictions due to Covid. With normalcy returned, the devotees were allowed entry through the Singhadwar, located in eastern direction of the temple. In view of huge crowds and delayed darshan, the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) in August this year decided to open one more gate in the west for Puri locals. The north gate is being used for exit purpose.