The annual Rath yatra of Lord Jagannath in the holy town of Puri, Odisha, will be held without any devotees for the second consecutive year following all COVID-19 protocols, the Odisha government announced on Thursday.
"This year also, Lord Jagannath's Rath Yatra will be held sans devotees in Puri. The administration has prohibited similar celebrations in other parts of the state," Mr Jena was quoted as saying by news agency PTI. "Curfew will be clamped on the holy town on the day of Rath Yatra. All restrictions imposed during last year's event will remain in force," Odisha Special Relief Commissioner P K Jena said.
"Only essential and emergency services will be allowed during the festival. Vehicular movement to and from Puri will be restricted," District collector Samarth Verma stated, adding that work to build the chariots has reached its final stages and steps were taken to "ensure no hurdle came in its way".
According to the Hindu calendar, Rath Yatra is observed on the second day of Ashadha month. As per the Gregorian calendar, it falls in the month of June or July.
On this day, the idols of Lord Jagannath and his siblings (Goddess Subhadra and Lord Balabhadra) are decorated and brought to cover a 3-km-long journey (from Jagannath Temple to the Gundicha Temple) in chariots drawn by over hundreds of devotees, every year.
(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)