COVID-19 lockdown: Rukuna Ratha festival of Lord Lingaraj suspended in Odisha

Bhubaneswar: The Hindu deities are not exempted from the deadly effect of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) as the age-old tradition of Rukuna Ratha festival of Lord Lingaraj has been suspended this year.

In view of nationwide lockdown against rapid spread of coronavirus, the Lingaraj Temple administration decided not to hold the annual car festival of Lord Lingaraj on the holy occasion of Ashokashtami that falls on April 1.

In this regard, Khordha Collector Sitanshu Kumar Rout, who is the Chairperson of Shree Lingaraj Temple Trust Board, has informed the chiefs of servitor communities at a meeting on Saturday evening in Bhubaneswar.

Source said that as per the lockdown guidelines, no religious programme could be held during this period and the temple administration has made it clear that it cannot take any risk to conduct Rukuna Ratha festival this year.

With the move, the age-old tradition of Lord Lingaraj that had been continuing at Ekamra Kshetra will be interrupted due to coronavirus scare.

Source said that the chariot making work is in final stage amidst lockdown and the wooden structure would have been established on Tuesday. On that day, the sacred water of Marichi Kunda would have been auctioned.

However, with suspension of car festival of Lord Lingaraj, all the rituals and traditions related to the religious event have been closed for this year.

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