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No Fear No Favour

Even COVID-19 couldn’t curtail the celebrations of ‘Rathyatra’ festival in different states, here are the full-day reports

Source: News18

Rath Yatra 2020 Reports: As the Supreme Court permitted the festivities without any public attendance, Puri began preparation for the Jagannath Rath Yatra with the Odisha government launching massive coronavirus test drive for 1,500 who will pull chariots on Tuesday.

Priests gathered early morning at the temple premises to carry out the Rath Yatra, ANI reported. As per Supreme Court’s order, not more than 500 people will be allowed to pull the chariots.

Priests gathered early morning at the temple premises to carry out the Rath Yatra, ANI reported. As per Supreme Court’s order, not more than 500 people will be allowed to pull the chariots.

The move came after the apex court directed that all those engaged in pulling chariots during Lord Jagannath’s Rath Yatra must have mandatory Covid-19 negative report. The Rath Yatra involves three chariots — Lord Jagannath’s Nandighosh, Lord Balabhadra’s Taladwaja and Devi Subhadra’s Darpadalan.

Not more than 500 people, including servitors and security personnel, are allowed to pull one chariot, and hence, the administration requires 1,500 people to pull the three chariots. “We will have to collect samples from at least 1,500 people and get them examined by 11 am on Tuesday as chariot pulling is scheduled to start from 12 noon,” a health department official said.

Here are all the updates from the Yatra:

1. Odisha priests and ‘sevayats’ take the idol of Lord Balabhadra to chariot for the Rath Yatra from Jagannath Temple in Puri. The nine-day yatra, or the chariot procession, celebrates the annual journey of Lord Jagannath and his two siblings from the 12th-century Jagannath Temple to Gundicha Temple, 2.5km away. The Gundicha Temple is their aunt’s home.

2. Story behind Jagannath rath yatra: Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra, and Goddess Subhadra are worshipped in the sanctum of the famous temple in Puri. They are brought out every year on the second day of the third Hindu month of Asadha onto the Bada Danda street of Puri in three huge chariots accompanied by Sudarshana Chakra.

3. Covid-19 Positive Priest Not Allowed to Participate: Odisha’s Law Minister Pratap Jena said that as per the Supreme Court’s order, test for Covid-19 was conducted for all priests at Puri’s Jagannath Temple. He added that one priest tested positive and he was not allowed to participate in the Rath Yatra, news agency ANI reported.

4. Union Home Minister Amit Shah Extends Greetings: Union Home Minister Amit Shah conveyed his greetings to the people on the occasion of the Rath Yatra. “I extend my warm greetings to all, on the auspicious occasion of Rath Yatra. May Maha Prabhu Jagannath bless everyone with good heath, joy and prosperity. Jai Jagannath!” Shah tweeted.

5. In Ahmedabad, Symbolic ‘Rath Yatra’ at Lord Jagannath Temple:  A symbolic Rath Yatra was organised in the Lord Jagannath temple premises on Tuesday after the Gujarat High Court rejected the state government’s plea to carry out a public procession. For the first time in 143 years, this world-renowned event was held without the accompaniment of troupes, tableaux and public participation in view of the coronavirus outbreak.

6. Sanitisation Conducted at Temple Premises: Sanitisation work was conducted at the Jagannath Temple in Puri today morning.

7. The King of Puri Arrives at Jagannath Temple: The King of Puri Gajapati Maharaj Dibyasingha Deb arrives at the Jagannath Temple in Puri to participate in the Rath Yatra. He will perform the ‘Chhera Pahanra’ ritual where he will sweep the chariots, news agency ANI reports.

8. King of Puri Sweeps the Chariots: : Seen here, the King of Puri, Gajapati Maharaj Dibyasingha Deb sweeping the chariots using a broom with a gold handle, as part of the ‘Chhera Pahanra’ ritual during the Rath Yatra at the Jagannath Temple.

9. PM Modi Greets People: Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi greeted people on the occasion of Lord Jagannath Yatra, hoping that it brings good health and prosperity. “My heartiest greetings on the auspicious occasion of Lord Jagannath’s Rath Yatra,” the prime minister tweeted in Hindi. He wished that the occasion brings happiness, prosperity, good luck and health to the lives of the people.

10. Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan Visits Sri Jagannath Temple in Delhi: On Tuesday, Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan visited Sri Jagannath Temple in the national capital with his family.

11. Rath Yatra Begins: The historic Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath commenced on Tuesday in this pilgrim town without the usual sea of devotees and amid tight security in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, less than 24 hours after the Supreme Court modified its earlier order to clear the decks for the annual ritual. A number of customary rituals like ‘Mangla Arati’ and ‘Mailam’ were held before the presiding deities — Lord Jagannath, his elder brother Lord Balabhadra and their sister Devi Subhadra — set out from the sanctum sanctorum of the temple.

12. Recap: Decks were cleared for holding the historic Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra at Puri on Tuesday after the Supreme Court modified its stay order, besides directing other precautions in view of the coronavirus pandemic.

Earlier, the state’s health and family welfare department had conducted Covid-19 test of 956 persons, including servitors and carpenters, and others engaged in chariot construction.

The servitors whose samples were tested earlier may be engaged in Pahandi – the procession through which the deities will be carried to the chariots from the temple.

The fresh persons whose coronavirus test will be done will pull the chariots, the official said, adding that several teams of technicians are engaged in sample collection and testing.

“We are fully cooperating with the administration and our people are standing in queue to give sample so that they can pull chariots,” said Ramachandra Dasmohapatra, a member of the Daitapati Nijog and also a member of the Temple Managing Committee.

(With PTI inputs)

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