Jagannath Rath Yatra begins in Odisha’s Puri; PM Modi extends wishes

23 June, 2020 | newsx bureau

rath yatra National

On this auspicious occasion, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has extended his greetings to the people of the country. This is for the first time in history that the devotees will not participate in th...

One of India’s biggest religious festivals, The Jagannath Puri Yatra started this morning with priests and temple attendants gathering in huge numbers but , for the first time in history, the devotees are not allowed to attend the function due to the social distancing norms, given the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

PM Modi has extended greetings to the people of the country on this auspicious occasion. PM Modi tweeted that he hopes that the 7-day ‘Rath yatra’ journey is filled with happiness, devotion, and prosperity. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh also extended his greetings to everyone and said may Lord Jagarnath bless us all with good health, happiness and prosperity.

As the day began, priests and sevayats took the idol of Lord Balabhadra to chariot for the Rath Yatra followed by Lord Jagannath. In the videos that are surfacing on social media, performing artists can also be seen participating in the Rath Yatra. Some Rath Yatra rituals are also being conducted in ISKCON temple premises of West Bengal.

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Ahead of the Rath Yatra, a sanitisation drive was also conducted ahead of the Rath Yatra. Speaking about the safety measures undertaken by the state government, Odisha Law Minister Pratap Jena said earlier in the day that all the sevayats have been tested for Covid-19. One of them tested positive and he is not allowed to participate in the Rath Yatra.

The Supreme Court (SC) on Monday allowed Odisha to hold the 7-day chariot festival in a restricted manner. Earlier the SC stalled the function because of the contagious coronavirus but later modified its order, giving a green signal for the ‘Yatra’ to take place in Odisha’s Puri.

The SC further instructed the state and temple committees to take the onus of conducting the ‘Yatra’ with proper safety measures and without compromising with the health issues pertaining to Covid-19. The order also stated that only 500 persons will pull the ‘Rath’ (chariot) and all of them will be tested for coronavirus.

After the decision, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik thanked the SC and the central government on granting permission to conduct the festival amid the virus. He further reiterated and emphasised on implementing strict lockdown measures.

Also Read: Odisha govt welcomes SC’s decision on Jagannath Rath Yatra