Lockdown 4.0: Uncertainty looms over holding of Sital Sasthi Jatra in Odisha capital

Bhubaneswar: With extension of COVID-19 lockdown till May 31, the much-awaited Sital Sasthi Jatra of Lord Lingaraj is likely to be suspended this year.

An uncertainty now looms over holding of the annual festival as the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) Additional Commissioner has said ‘No’ to the nijogs of Lingaraj Temple at a meeting for holding the annual festival scheduled on May 27 this year.

The meeting was held with members of four nijogs at office of the Lingaraj Temple on Thursday to discuss an alternative way for conducting Sital Sasthi festival of Lord Lingaraj amid lockdown restrictions.

However, the servitors were hugely disappointed with the decision.

Source said that the members of four nijogs will meet the BMC Commissioner seeking permission for the festival with an aim to save age-old religious practice at the centuries old temple of Lord Shiva.

Earlier, the Lingaraj Temple administration had decided to conduct Sital Sasthi Jatra, which celebrates the divine marriage of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, on May 27. The move had been taken at a preparatory meeting held last week.

BMC Additional Commissioner Abani Kanta Patnaik had informed that the wedding event of Lord Shiva and Maa Parvati will be a low key affair due to COVID-19. The age-old practice at the Lingaraj Temple will not be broken this time. However, the festival will be held by following the lockdown guidelines.

It is worth to be mentioned that the marriage of the divine couple is solemnised on the sixth day of fortnight of the Hindu month of ‘Jyestha’ every year. The festival is celebrated to welcome the much-awaited monsoon.

This year, devotees were disappointed after the temple administration suspended annual Rukuna Ratha Jatra and Chandan Jatra of Lord Lingaraj due to nationwide COVID-19 lockdown.

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