SJTA appeals to elderly women not to visit Jagannath temple during 'Kartik Brata'

The Shree Jagannath Temple Administration SJTA Monday appealed to elderly women who perform Kartik Brata also known as Habisyali not to visit Puri town and the 12th century shrine this year too in view of the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic situation.The appeal was made by SJTA chief administrator Krishan Kumar after chairing a meeting of the Chattisa Nijog apex body of servitors and the sitting of the finance sub-committee in which the temples annual budget of Rs 190 crore was approved.


PTI | Puri | Updated: 12-10-2021 00:11 IST | Created: 12-10-2021 00:11 IST
SJTA appeals to elderly women not to visit Jagannath temple during 'Kartik Brata'
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The Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) Monday appealed to elderly women who perform ‘Kartik Brata’ also known as ‘Habisyali’ not to visit Puri town and the 12th century shrine this year too in view of the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic situation.

The appeal was made by SJTA chief administrator Krishan Kumar after chairing a meeting of the ‘Chattisa Nijog’ (apex body of servitors) and the sitting of the finance sub-committee in which the temple’s annual budget of Rs 190 crore was approved. Kumar said the money will mostly be spent on rituals and festivals including Lord Jagannath’s annual Ratha Jatra, welfare of servitors and other developmental activities. He said the SJTA has decided not to entertain the 'Habisyalis', who are mostly elderly women in view of the possible spread of COVID-19.

The women should hold their rituals at the places where they are instead of thronging the temple and crowding in Puri. The temple had last year too barred Habisyalis to visit the temple in view of the pandemic. “The decision to restrict them (Habisyalis) was taken after consultation with different stakeholders, including servitors, in the interest of public health,” Kumar said.

The women will not be allowed to visit Shree Jagannath Temple during the Hindu month of Kartik, which commences from October 21, he said. Every year thousands of elderly women mostly widows from across Odisha and outside the state congregate in Puri and observe 'Kartika Brata' by worshipping the 'tulsi' plant and visiting Lord Jagannath temple, considered a major seat of Lord Vishnu. In earlier years, the state government and SJTA used to open camps for the 'Habisyalis' at the sea pilgrim town. Kumar said the temple remains close on every Sundays in view of the pandemic and the devotees will not be allowed to enter the shrine on major festivals. The temple will remain closed to visitors on Dussehra on October 15 but will remain open on 'Kumar Purnima' day on October 19.

Restrictions will also be imposed on devotees entering the temple in the second half of October 16 due to immersion of Durga idols in the town. SJTA has also decided to keep the temple closed on November 4 (Diwali), November 16 (Ekadashi) and November 19 (Kartik Purnima) this year. A stadard operating procedure in this regard will be issued in a day and two days, he said.

Kumar said that the meeting also discussed on starting the work for the heritage corridor project and a proposal on implementing a traditional dress code for servitors and SJTA officials who are enter ‘Bhitarakatha’ (inner portion) of the temple.

“The ceremony for heritage corridor work will kick off on November 18 while observing the COVID-19 restrictions. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is scheduled to join the ceremony,” Kumar said.

The meeting also discussed on putting in place certain rules discouraging devotees to enter the holy shrine in western outfits like jeans. “From Kumar Purnima onwards, the servitors and SJTA employees will be allowed to the Bhitarakatha of temple with only traditional outfit. On November 5, a day after Diwali, the restriction will be imposed on other officials.” On Monday, which was the 13th day of 'Sodasha Upachara Puja' (16 kinds of worship) in the temple, the 'Shakta Gundicha Jatra' (Divine Goddess Jatra) ritual of ‘Durgamadhaba’ was performed. The idol was taken on a chariot to the Narayani temple. As the seaside pilgrim town now witnesses large gathering during the Durga Puja festival, the SJTA has made it mandatory for all to wear masks at all times whether inside or outside the temple, to sanitise their hands before entering it and maintain physical distance as per the guidelines.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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