Jajpur: Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, servitors of the famous Biraja temple in Jajpur district have filed a PIL in the Orissa High Court (HC) seeking permission for holding of the nine-day-long Ratha Yatra of the goddess.
In the PIL, the servitors of the Biraja temple Mukti Mandap stated that Ratha Yatra of the Goddess is being held since time immemorial. Discontinue of the festival will hurt religious sentiment of thousands of devotees. Like the Puri Ratha Yatra, let the car festival of Goddess Biraja be held with strict adherence to COVID-19 guidelines, the servitors pleaded before the court. Advocate Biplab Kumar Tipathy is representing the servitors in the HC for the matter.
“Once the Ratha Yatra gets discontinued, it cannot be held again. We have prayed to the court to grant permission for the annual festival. We ready to follow all COVID-19 guidelines to be issued by the HC,” said a servitor.
It is pertinent to mention here that Goddess Biraja is the only Goddess in the country to have her own chariot festival, which is held during Dussehra.
While the Supreme Court had granted permission for conduct of Puri Ratha Yatra in June after a prolong legal battle, the state has not given a green signal for Biraja Ratha Yatra owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, the state Government has decided to keep Dussehra festival a low key affair by imposing several restrictions, including public participation and cultural activities.