Covid-19: Rath Yatra begins in Puri with precautions

The Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra is one of the biggest religious festivals in India. The Supreme Court allowed the Rath Yatra from 23rd June but along with certain conditions.  About a million of devotees attend the yatra every year but this year devotees will not be allowed. It will be only the temple associations. 

A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, said in its order that each chariot would be pulled by not more than 500 people, including officials and police, and there has to be an interval of one hour between pulling of the chariots.

The Rath yatra has now started and a huge crowd can be seen outside the temple as they took part in the colorful procession and the priests took the idol of Lord  Balabhadra to a chariot. The whole temple complex was sanitized before the beginning of the rituals.

In visuals, a huge crowd could be seen outside the iconic temple – decorated for the occasion – as they took part in the colorful procession and the priests took the idol of Lord Balabhadra to a chariot. The temple complex was sanitized before the rituals began.

In a tweet, Prime Minister Narendra Modi this morning greeted the devotees, saying: “My heartiest greetings to all of you on the auspicious occasion of Lord Jagannath’s Rath Yatra. I wish that this journey filled with devotion brings happiness, prosperity, good luck, and health to the lives of the countrymen. Jai Jagannath!”

The Odisha government has imposed a 41-hour curfew in the temple town and started Covid-19 tests of 700 temple priests who would pull the three chariots.

This religious nine-day Rath Yatra, or the chariot procession, celebrates the annual journey of Lord Jagannath and his two siblings from the 12th-century Jagannath Temple to Gundicha Temple, 2.5km away. The Gundicha Temple is their aunt’s home.

However, the top court also mentioned that it is considering this issue of conducting Rath Yatra only in Puri, and not at other places in Odisha.

Lord Jagannatha is known as the supreme god and the sovereign monarch of the Odishan empire. Puri Jagannath Temple Odisha is known as the land of Lord Jagannath. 

It is believed that during the celebrations, Lord Jagannath comes out of his sanctum sanctorum so that devotees from different sects and communities can see him. it is said that those who take part in the festivity “earn their passage to heaven”.