Puri: Prohibitory orders will be slapped at Narendra Puskarini for the upcoming Chandan Yatra of Lord Jagannath as the mega event will be held without the presence of devotees and pilgrims this year too due to Covid-19 restrictions.
However, the festival will be performed at the scheduled place unlike last year when the rituals were observed inside the temple premises during the first wave of the Pandemic, officials said.
As the Covid restrictions are in force, the district administration has decided to impose Sec 144 at Narendra Puskarini for the mega festival to prevent public gathering.
Sri Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) chief administrator Krishan Kumar, Puri Collector Samarth Verma visited the festival event venue and reviewed the arrangements for the three-week long ceremony.
“Prohibitory orders under section 144 of CrPC will be clamped at Narendra Puskarini. The temple administration has issued detailed SOPs and measures will be taken accordingly for smooth conduct of the event,” the Collector said.
The curfew will remain in force for 21 days since the beginning of the festival, he added.
Verma further informed those who are scheduled to participate in the mega rituals will undergo RT-PCR test. Those who test negative for Covid-19 will be allowed to perform duty, he said.
“We have already conducted test of 60 servitors against our target of 600. More testing will be conducted very soon,” Verma pointed out.
“No devotees, pilgrims, or local residents will be allowed to take part in the yatra. The event will be observed in a symbolic manner in order to keep the tradition alive. It will be held amid strict adherence to Covid rules” SJTA chief Krishan Kumar said.
The rituals will be performed with minimum number of servitors. Around 70 sevayats will take part in the religious event, he added.
Servitors have also expressed happiness for conducting the festival at the holy pond unlike last year.
“It is matter of immense pleasure that the Chandan Yatra rituals will be held at scheduled place unlike last year when the event was organized on the temple premises. The process for chariot construction will also begin at the designated venue as usual,” a priest of the Shree Jagannath Temple said.
It is worth mentioning, the pilgrim town usually witnesses heavy congregation of devotees from in and outside the State during the annual water sports of the Holy Trinity.
Generally Chandan Yatra is divided into two parts of 21 day rituals each, the Bahara and Bhitara Chandan Yatra. The former is observed outside at Narendra Puskarini and the Bhitara Yatra is held inside Jagannath Temple.