The Puri district administration on Thursday clamped prohibitory orders under Section 144 of CrPC around Shree Jagannath Temple to avoid crowding on the occasion of Deepavali, the festival of lights, and prevent people from observing rituals associated with paying obeisance to forefathers in the 12th-century shrine which remained closed. The prohibitory orders are imposed from Thursday morning till late in the night, said Puri district sub-collector Bhabataran Sahu.
Houses in Bhubaneswar and elsewhere in the state were illuminated on the occasion of Deepavali. People lit earthen lamps, candles and electric lights to decorate their homes. The Shree Jagannath Temple Administration decided to keep the famous temple in Puri closed for visitors while the district administration put restrictions on offering "Paya Shraddha", paying respect to forefathers, near the temple because of the pandemic situation. Burning Kaunriya Kathis' (jute sticks) in front of Lion's Gate of Lord Jagannath temple, a part of the ritual, was also not allowed, Sahu said.
Every year thousands of devotees from across Eastern India throng Shree Jagannath Temple to light 'Kaunriya Kathi' before the Lions Gate and around the shrine. Similar restrictions have been imposed at Dhabaleswar temple in Cuttack district. Access of the public and devotees to the temple for darshan is banned from 4 am to 10 pm.
The Cuttack district authorities have imposed the prohibitory orders at the famous Shiva temple, an official said. Similarly, the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) has prohibited people from offering 'Paya Shraddha' at Bindusagar tank and the 'Singh Dwara' (Lion's Gate) of the Lingaraj Temple.
Chhat Puja celebration at the banks of various water bodies or any public location within the BMC jurisdiction has also been prohibited this year. The decision has been taken to discourage congregation to ensure public safety in view of the pandemic. The Cuttack Municipal Corporation has also imposed restrictions on the celebration of the Chhat Puja to be held next week.