Bhubaneswar: The Chandan Jatra of Lord Lingaraj will be held this year but without devotees, Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) made it clear while giving nod to the annual festival scheduled to begin from May 15.
In this regard, the BMC Commissioner Prem Chandra Chaudhary has written to the Lingaraj Temple Administration about the COVID SOP for conduct of the 22-day-long Chandan Jatra of Lord Lingaraj.
As per the guidelines, Chandan Jatra that begins on Akshaya Tritiya will be held amid COVID restrictions. No devotee will be allowed to visit the Bindusagar pond to witness the festival. The rituals will be held by only 15 servitors.
A list of servitors who will perform the Chandan Jatra rituals will be handed over to the temple administration. However, the COVID negative report is mandatory for those selected servitors, the BMC said.
As per the SOP, the boat on which the deities will take ride in Bindusagar during the festival will be sanitised by the BMC. No servitor will be allowed to consume tobaco during the period. The servitors to be engaged at the festival will undergo thermal screening and they will be directed to follow COVID appropriate behaviour. They need to wash their hands with soap and water and sanitise their hands before joining the duty.
The cultural programmme related to the festival is completely prohibited, a source in the BMC said.
Last year, the Lingaraj Temple Administration had cancelled the Chandan Jatra of Lord Lingaraj due to COVID-19 outbreak.