The Sun Temple at Konark in Odisha re-opened on Tuesday for visitors after more than five months due to the COVID-19 lockdown. The Konark Temple is a world famous tourist attraction. Though other monuments protected by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) in Odisha, like the Raja Rani temple, Udaygiri, Khandagiri, Lalitgiri Buddhist monuments were re-opened earlier, the Konark temple received visitors only today, Superintending Officer of ASI, Arun Kumar Mallick said.
Mr Mallik said visitors are allowed entry into the monument following all the norms set both by the Centre and the state government. Wearing of masks and social distancing have been made mandatory for the visitors of the heritage site, he said, adding that tourists will also undergo thermal screening before entry.
Visitors can buy tickets by scanning QR code installed outside the temple and make payment online, Mr Mallick said. A total of 2,500 visitors will now be allowed entry every day in two phases. While 1,500 visitors will be allowed to visit the site between 6 am and 1 pm, another 1,000 persons can enter the temple in the afternoon.
According to the ASI official, other historical sites were opened earlier but the Sun Temple at Konark remained closed till August 31 due to restrictions imposed by the Puri district administration. "We have been allowed to re-open only 'non-living' temples in the state now," Mr Mallick said, adding that the Jagannath Temple continues to remain closed since March 15 as a precautionary measure to check the spread of the COVID-19 infection.