The Orissa High Court has directed the Puri District Administration to file an affidavit to show the steps taken for the crowd management and arrangement for smooth darshan of Lord Vishnu at Alarnatha Temple which commenced on June 5, 2023 and is likely to continue for two weeks.

“Instruction shall also be taken regarding the provision made for safe and smooth entry into and exit from the temple, so also the regulatory measure taken by the temple administration / committee and also by the District Administration. A responsible Government official, who is at the helm of affairs of the management, shall file such affidavit by the next date, copy of which shall be furnished in advance to the learned counsel for the petitioner”, a vacation bench of Justice S.K. Sahoo and Justice M.S. Raman further directed in the matter.

Advocate Laxmidhar Dash appeared for the petitioner, AGA Suman Pattnaik appeared for the respondents.

The petitioner-Madhusudan Pujapanda filed the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) to seek proper crowd management, arrangement of Darshan from Argali (Space connected to narrow strip to Sanctum Sanctorum (Garbhagriha) of Lord Allarnath), providing facilities and maintaining law and order for the huge crowd gathering during religious gathering of large numbers of devotees in Shree Shree Alarnath Temple, Brahmagiri during anavasara for two weeks period from June5, 2023.

Alarnatha Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Vishnu and located in Brahmagiri, Odisha, near Puri. It becomes crowded during the kirshnapaksha of Ashadha, after the Snana Yatra when devotees are not allowed to see the central icon of Jagannath (a form of Vishnu) in Puri temple.

During this period, popularly known as Anasara or ‘Anavasara’ (literally meaning no opportunity to see the lord of Puri), instead of having darshan in the Puri temple, devotees believe that Jagannath during this time manifests as Alarnath Dev, at the Alarnath temple in Brahmagiri.

It is also believed that the devotees can avail the same blessings and fortune of Jagannath darshan by having the darshan of Lord Alarnath. Along with Lord Alarnath, the devotees get the darshan of Lord Ananta Basudev in place of Lord Balabhadra and Devi Bhubaneswari in place of Devi Subhadra.

Cause Title: Madhusudan Pujapanda v. State of Odisha and Others

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