PURI: Suar Mahasuar Nijog, the association of cooks of Sri Jagannath temple, has stopped accepting orders for Mahaprasad from outside in wake of increasing number of servitors getting infected with coronavirus.
The decision was taken at a meeting on Sunday. Besides, the number of personnel engaged in preparation and supply of Baradi Abhada Mahaprasad would be reduced by 70 per cent, said secretary of the association Krushna Chandra Pratihari.
Every day, hundreds of devotees gather at Dakshindwar, Simhadwar and Uttardwar to place orders for Mahaprasad and receive the same without maintaining social distance and other Covid-19 guidelines. The association members attributed the recent spike in Covid-19 cases among servitors to these daily gathering.
Pratihari said the association decided to suspend all Mahaprasad orders to prevent further spread of the disease. The members have been strictly advised against entertaining such orders.
However, since Pitrupakshya (fortnight dedicated to ancestors) is continuing and many residents of Puri observe various rituals during this period, the association would provide Mahaprasad to people through a special counter outside the temple at the Uttardwar. During Pitrupakshya, special rituals are performed in every household of the pilgrim town.
On normal days, people place orders for Mahaprasad with the cooks for consumption in religious events like marriage and thread ceremony. Preparation of this Mahaprasad, known as Baradi Abhada, has been completely stopped from Sunday. Pratihari informed that the Kothabhog Mahaprasad offered daily to the deities by the temple administration would continue as before.
So far, at least 50 servitors of Sri Jagannath temple have tested positive for Covid-19 and the number is rising every day.