Puri, Jan 16: A large number of devotees from Odisha and across the country have started converging on the coastal pilgrimage town, eagerly anticipating the highly awaited grand opening of the 'Srimandir Parikrama Prakalpa' (SPP) or Jagannath Temple heritage corridor project. The entire town has been adorned with a captivating display of flowers, decorative lights, and graffiti, creating a spectacular ambiance.
The 'Maha Yagna,' which commenced on Makar Sankranti Day, entered its second day on Tuesday and is set to culminate on Wednesday afternoon. Gajapati Maharaja Dibyasingha Deb is scheduled to perform the 'Purna Ahuti' (final pouring of ghee on the havan fire) between 1.30 and 2.30 pm. Following this, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik will officially dedicate the project to the devotees.
Throughout the 12th-century Jagannath Temple, Brahmins and Vedic scholars are engaged in chanting different Vedas at various gates. Rig Veda resonates at the Singh Dwar (lion gate or the main entrance), Yajur Veda at the southern gate, Sama Veda at the western gate, and Atharva Veda at the northern gate. Devotees have flocked to the temple since early morning to witness this auspicious event and seek darshan of Lord Jagannath.
In preparation for the inauguration of the Parikrama Project, Chairman of the 5T (Transformational) initiative and Nabin Odisha, V K Pandian, Chief Secretary Pradeep Kumar Jena, and DGP in-charge Arun Sarangi visited Puri on Monday. Pandian conducted a thorough review meeting with district administration, senior temple servitors, and other officials, seeking cooperation for the success of the January 17 event.
Key projects such as Sri Setu (bridge), Shri Jagannath Ballav Parking, Shri Marg (road), and others are nearly completed, according to Jena. Invited guests from outside the state are expected to arrive in Puri on Tuesday, with accommodations arranged in various hotels.
The chief secretary announced that the Sri Setu on the way to Puri will be open to the public after its inauguration by the chief minister on the designated day. For security, the DGP revealed the deployment of 80 platoons of police force, along with supervisory officers and sub-inspector and ASI rank officials.
A comprehensive four-layer security arrangement has been established, encompassing traffic management, VIP security, devotee security, and ensuring a smooth darshan experience. The DGP informed reporters about the deployment of bomb disposal teams, anti-sabotage units, and canine squads to enhance safety measures and sanitize the area.
Simultaneously, the Odisha government has planned arrangements for 10,000 people from different parts of the state to visit the Jagannath Temple in Puri daily for a month starting January 22.