Rath Yatra: Chariots to Roll Sans Devotees in Puri

For the second time in a row, the famous Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath and his siblings will be held without devotees in Puri. Last year too, the chariot festival had taken place only in the presence of servitors, police personnel and officials due to the pandemic. Every year, the annual festivity marks the presence of lakhs of devotees thronging Puri town from across the world.

Ahead of the Rath Yatra, the Puri administration imposed a curfew from 8 pm for 48 hours, starting Sunday (July 11). Restrictions have been imposed on the Grand Road from the Jagannath temple leading up to the Gundicha temple. The administration has deployed 65 platoons of police personnel to monitor the festival. While the entry point to the Puri town has been sealed, by-lanes have been barricaded to avoid crowd gathering.

The ‘Pahandi’ ritual of the three deities is already complete. It will be followed by the ‘Chera Pahara’ ritual, before pulling the Chariots. The 8000 servitors, police personnel, media representatives, administrative officials and others allowed in the area, have been subjected to the RT-PCR test before the Rath Yatra. Only Covid-19 negative people are being allowed to attend the festival.

In the Kendrapara district also, which holds the Ratha Rath Yatra, restrictions were imposed under Section 144 of CrPC where the chariots will be pulled from Shree Baladevjew temple to Mausi Maa temple.

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