Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government has declared January 17 as a holiday for all educational institutions and state government offices due to the inauguration of the Jagannath Temple Heritage Corridor project in Puri. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik announced that schools, colleges, and government offices will remain closed to allow devotees to participate in the grand opening event on January 17.
Anticipating a substantial footfall of devotees in the holy city, the government has taken this step to facilitate their attendance. Rituals for the project’s grand opening have already commenced in Puri since Friday. Gajapati Maharaja Dibyasingha Deb, known as the ‘King of Puri,’ has invited priests for the ‘Maha Yajna,’ scheduled to commence with the placement of an ‘Akhand Deepa’ on Monday.
The Maha Yajna, to be conducted by 108 Sotriya Bramhins, will conclude with Gajapati offering Purnahuti in the presence of Chief Minister Patnaik on January 17. Following this, Patnaik will walk through the corridor, officially dedicating it to the public, and is slated to address the devotees present at the event.
Several dignitaries, including the Sankaracharayas of all the traditional four mutts and the King of Nepal, have been invited to participate in the grand opening event. Given the expected influx of devotees, the 12th-century shrine and the holy city will be under a comprehensive five-tier security arrangement during the event, with 66 platoons of police force deployed to manage traffic and security in the city on that day.