Hundreds of devotees thronged the much-revered Tara Tarini temple in Odisha’s Ganjam district on Monday when it reopened for public after nearly nine months.
The temple, located on top of a hillock on the banks of the Rushikulya river, was opened a day after Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik visited it.
On the first day, devotees thronged the place of worship since morning to catch a glimpse of goddesses Tara and Tarini and seek their blessings, said Bapuji Rana, one of the priests.
“We hope the number increases in the days to come,” he said.
The shrine, one of the four Adi Shakti Pithas of the country, was closed for public entry along with other places of worship in mid-April, shortly after the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic struck.
Later in the year, the administration allowed re-opening of other religious places, but people were barred from visiting the Tara Tarini shrine owing to the work that was underway in the temple complex.
District Collector Vijay Kulange said vehicles of visitors are still not allowed to move beyond a point as the “third phase of work to build infrastructure around the temple was in progress”.
“At least three buses will be pressed into service to ferry the visitors to the temple from the main gate. A ropeway system is also in operation to take them to the temple,” Kulange said.
During his visit to the temple, Patnaik had said that the infrastructure development work at the shrine was scheduled to be completed in 2023.
The third phase of the development work included construction of a multi-purpose hall, meditation centre, toilets, rest-sheds, watch tower, first-aid centres, official sources said.
Around Rs 50 crore was spent in the first two phases of the development work.
A gabion wall of around 60 metre in height has been constructed with an investment of around Rs 23 crore, the sources said.