Puri: For the first time in the history of Odisha, Snana Jatra (bathing festival) and Ratha Yatra of Lord Jagannath and His divine siblings will be conducted here in the absence of devotees.
As informed by Puri Gajapati Maharaja Dibyasingha Deb, both Snana Jatra and Ratha Yatra can be conducted as per rituals but in the absence of devotees in view of the COVID-19 crisis.
After a meeting of the temple managing committee held on Saturday, the Puri King informed that the bathing festival of the deities on June 5 will be conducted at Meghanad Pacheri inside the temple as per the rituals but with limited servitors and in presence of limited administrative officials. But, the centuries-old temple will not open for devotees.
“Information and Public Relation (l&PR) Department has been asked to ensure live telecast of the entire festival and share it with media houses. Devotees across the world can have darshan of the deities staying in their respective houses through television,” the Puri King added.
Regarding Ratha Yatra, the Gajapati said a proposal has been given to the Government for holding of the nine-day sojourn as per the rituals and without devotees. The festival will be held only if the state government gives permission for the same. The Government will take steps to ensure that no outside devotee comes to Puri and no local devotee gather on Bada Danda during the entire festival.
He further said, “Srimandir will remain closed for devotees till Niladri Bije, even if the Centre eases the lockdown norms and allows religious institutions to resume.”