Pradeep Pattanayak

This year’s Rath Yatra is going to be a rare one as three rituals are falling on the Rath Yatra day itself leaving the devotees, servitors and the Srimandir administration a confused lot. 

This year the Rath Yatra falls on July 7. On the same day, the ‘Naba Jaubana Darshan’ and ‘Netrotsav’ of the deities are also falling. Now the issue that is cropping up here is how three important rituals of Lord Jagannath and His siblings will be performed in a single day. Or, the Rath Yatra is going to be a 2-day affair.

In 1909, the same situation was encountered. In that year, the Rath Yatra fell on June 18. It was also the day of the solar eclipse. So, ‘Naba Jaubana Darshan’, ‘Netrotsav’ and chariot pulling were observed the next day. 

Also Read: Blueprint prepared for peaceful conduct of Snana Yatra & Rath Yatra: Odisha Law Minister  

The same convergence was also witnessed in 1971. Records say ‘Agyanmala’ and ‘Dhwaja Agyanmala’ were brought from ‘Pati Dians’. The ‘pahandi’ rituals of the deities were held at 2 PM and the chariots were pulled at around 7 PM. 

Amidst the confusion, the servitors said the rituals would be observed after analyzing history and laws mentioned in the sacred scriptures.
“Suspicion is arising that which records were followed in 1971. In such cases, we refer to the sacred scriptures. And we are analyzing them,” said Madhav Pujapanda, secretary of Pujapanda Nijog. 

Senior Daitapati servitor Binayak Dasmohapatra said, “The rituals will be held as they were performed in 1971. After Snana Purnima, a clearer view will emerge.” 

On the other hand, the new BJP government is leaving no stone unturned for the successful conduct of the Rath Yatra. Law Minister Prithiviraj Harichandan even said this year’s Rath Yatra will set an example. 

“Our preparations for the Rath Yatra are underway. Starting from cleaning of drains to coordination with NGOs is going on. The last meeting will be chaired by the Chief Minister. We should hope this year’s Rath Yatra will pass off peacefully,” said Puri Collector Siddharth Shankar Swain. 
“Our efforts are on to hold the rituals earlier than last year and in a more disciplined manner,” said the Law Minister.

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