Puri temple trinity adorns 'Nagarjuna Besa', tight security put in place to avoid crowding

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Puri, Nov 27 (PTI) After a gap of nearly 26 years, the trinity in Shree Jagannath Temple here on Friday adorned the much-awaited 'Nagarjuna Besa' (warrior attire), but there was no devotee to witness the grand event as temple gates remain closed for public due to COVID-19 pandemic.

The event commemorates the killing of king Sahashrarjuna by Lord Parsuram.

Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) chief administrator Krishna Kumar said all rituals were conducted smoothly, but the process got initially delayed due to a 'difference of opinion between two groups of servitors.

The district administration in Puri clamped section 144 of CrPC on several areas to avoid any congregation near the 12th century shrine on this occasion.

The government had urged outstation devotees to refrain from thronging the pilgrim town. Only duty-bound servitors and officials were allowed entry into the temple.

As many as 25 platoons of police personnel were deployed around the temple when the deities were bedecked in 'Nagarjuna Besa'. A three-tier security cordon was put in place around the temple, a senior district official said.

Mobile phones were also banned inside the temple.

Prohibitory orders were withdrawn later in the day, once the rituals were over, and people were allowed to catch a glimpse of 'patitapaban' (symbolic idol of Lord Jagannath seen through the Lions Gate from outside), as they stood in a queue maintaining distance from one another.

The ritual is held only when 'panchak' (the final five days of the holy month of Kartik) is observed as six days.

The event was last held back-to-back in 1993 and 1994.

In 1993, at least six people were killed in a stampede during the ceremony. PTI AAM RMS RMS