Puri: One of the most famous festivals associated with Lord Jagannath, the Chandan Yatra will be observed this year without the participation of devotees. Puri district Collector Samarth Verma made the major announcement after a crucial Chhattisa Nijog meeting today.
Being the longest festival of the Holy Trinity held over a period of 42 days, it is divided into two parts – the Bhitara and Bahara Chandan Yatra.
While the Bhitara Chandan Yatra is observed inside Srimandir, the Bahara Chandan Yatra which commences on Akshay Tritiya is held at the iconic Narendra Puskarini. Due to the pandemic restrictions, the special ritual will be held from May 14 under strict compliance of Covid guidelines.
As per the district administration’s decision, the festival will be held after enforcement of Section 144 from Puri Srimandir to the Narendra Puskarini site. Adequate number of police personnel will be deployed along the stretch to ensure tight security during the occasion.
Only 50 to 70 selected Palia servitors who have first tested Covid negative will be allowed to take part in the festival. The sevayats will first have to undergo RT-PCR tests 72 hours before the festival.
Similarly, as Chandan Yatra is a precursor to the Rath Yatra and begins from Akshay Tritiya, the day will also mark the initiation of chariot construction for the biggest festival of Lord Jagannath which is scheduled to be celebrated on July 12.
In order to continue the chariot construction uninterrupted amid the Covid crisis, Puri district administration has decided to isolate the servitors engaged in the carpentry work at Niladri Bhakta Niwas.
Section 144 will also be enforced in and around the Ratha Khala area to avoid any public gathering during the chariot construction.
Since Chandan Yatra will be observed sans devotees, the administration has announced to provide live telecast facility to broadcasters to facilitate people to watch the holy festival by staying at home.
This apart, a few media personnel will be allowed during the festival, informed Puri Collector Samarth Verma.