Bhubaneswar: All religious institutions including temples, mosques, churches and others can reopen for the public in the Odisha capital from August 23. This is according to a notification issued Monday by the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC).
The BMC decided to allow opening of religious places to the public, with appropriate Covid-19 restrictions based on local assessment of the situation and in consultation with relevant stakeholders. A consultative meeting with relevant stakeholders of all religious groups was held virtually Saturday.
However no devotee will be allowed inside the ‘Garva Griha’ or sanctum santorum of any temple area. The devotees will be allowed ‘Darshan’ from a safe distance only. There shall be no food offerings in the temples.
Shree Lingaraj Temple Administration will take appropriate decision to open the temple on or after August 23, the notification said. At Lord Lingaraj temple, a maximum of 100 devotees will be allowed from Singhadwar to Ada- Katha (main temple). Sahan darshan / Garvagruha darshan (open darshan) will be completely prohibited. Similarly, no offerings to the lord shall be accepted by the Sebayats (servitors) and only Darshan will be allowed.
In all other temples, churches, mosques, gurudwaras etc, not more than 25 people will be allowed to congregate. The BMC notification said religious institution authorities shall ensure maintenance of social distancing of six feet among visitors. All religious establishments sill also have to ensure RT-PCR testing of their priests/sebayats and only RT-PCR negative and final Covid-19 vaccination certificate holders will be allowed to perform rituals. The Priests/Sebayats shall have to put on masks at all times.
The authorities of the various religious places will have to provide hand washing /hand sanitising for devotees at entry and exit points. Spitting inside and outside the premises have been strictly prohibited.