Uncertainty looms over holding of Khandagiri Jatra

Bhubaneswar: Uncertainty looms over holding of  Khandagiri Jatra in the state capital as the venue for the event is yet to be decided by the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC).

Speaking to mediapersons,  BMC Commissioner Prem Chandra Chaudhary said constriction work of national highway is underway at previous site of the event. Since over 50,000 visitors per day are expected for the event, it is not possible to allow the event at the site in adherence to existing COVID-19 guidelines.

The Commissioner said, “there is mixed response regarding conduct of the Jatra with 50 % visitors.  It has been proposed to organize the festival separately at three different places and a discussion in this regard has been held with Chief Secretary and Special Relief Commissioner. Alternative venues are being taken into consideration.”

A final decision will be taken today after discussion with the organizers, he added.

“People of Bhubaneswar have extended full cooperation in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic. Any wrong decision would boomerang  . Hence, the decision regarding holding of the annual festival will be held after consideration of all aspects,” he added.

It is pertinent to mention here that Khandagiri Mela is organised in the foothills of Khandagiri and Udayagiri mountains starting Magha Saptami every year. Seers from Varanasi, Kashi and Ayodhya visit the extravaganza.  Jatra (play) is organised by various troupes during the 11-day festival. Several stalls are also put up attracting a huge crowd at the place.

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