The biggest festival of Odisha has begun in full swing. The deities, Jagannath, Balabhadra, and Devi Subhadra, are out of the temple in chariots. The processions are being carried out without the gathering of the devotees of Puri.
Strict measures are being taken to avoid the repetition of the incidents of last year. In 2020, thousands of deities attended the Rath Yatra despite the threat of Covid-19.
The authorities are not altering the route of the Rath Yatra, but have shortened its duration. The short procession time will also affect the time-span of the rest of the affairs. With these changes, the Yatra concludes in four to five hours instead of the usual length of 12 hours.
The government has allowed 500 servitors with negative RT-PCR each to pull the three chariots.
A curfew imposed in Puri will further restrict any public gatherings.
According to PTI, The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) will undertake laser scanning of some important parts of Shree Jagannath Temple in Puri during the 9-day Ratha Jatra festival when the temple will be empty. This will keep in view the public health as well as check the spread of infection among citizens.
The festival proceedings are being telecasted live on national television.
The Prime Minister has taken over Twitter to greet the people on the occasion of Rath Yatra.
The Prime Minister said, “Greetings to everyone on the special occasion of the Rath Yatra. We bow to Lord Jagannath and pray that his blessings bring good health and prosperity in everyone’s lives. Jai Jagannath!”, on Twitter.
The President also extended his greetings on Twitter. He said, “My warm greetings and best wishes to all the countrymen, especially all the devotees in Odisha, on the auspicious occasion of the Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath. I wish that with the blessings of Lord Jagannath, the lives of all the countrymen remain full of happiness, prosperity, and health”.