Ratha Jatra to be held in Puri amid COVID-19 restrictions!
Puri: For the first time in the history of Odisha, the chariots of Lord Jagannath and his divine siblings will roll on Badadanda here during Ratha Jatra probably in the absence devotees if the COVID-19 situation does not improve in near future.
Srimandir senior servitor Binayak Das Mohapatra said this while informing that the annual Chandan Jatra of Lord Jagannath will be held at Narendra Pokhari (pond) without participation of devotees in view of the coronavirus outbreak. All preparations for Chandan Jatra to be held on April 26 has been completed, he said.
The 21-day water sports festival of the Trinity, which begins on the auspicious occasion of Akshaya Tritiya, will be conducted with all the rituals as per the tradition. This apart, the process of construction of the Holy chariots of the deities will begin with ‘Ratha Anukula’ on Akshaya Tritiya, Mohapatra added.
“Like the daily rituals of the deities have not been affected due to the lockdown, Chandan Jatra will also be held starting April 26, If the COVID-19 situation continues to remain the same till the time of Ratha Jatra, the festival will also be held without participation of devotees. But there is no question of cancellation of the two festivals. The state Government will take the right decision at right time,” the servitor asserted.
Slicing of wood logs used in construction of the chariots began on Rama Navami. Construction of the chariots will begin on Akshaya Tritiya as per the tradition but social distancing will be ensured during the work as per the Government’s COVID-19 lockdown guidelines, said senior servitor Rajat Kumar Pratihari.
“Nevertheless, if any miracle happens by the grace of the ‘Lord of the Universe’ and the virus is defeated, Ratha Jatra will be held in the presence of his devotees as always,” he added.