Suryakant Jena

The authorities of the Shree Jagannath Temple in Puri on Saturday laid out some important guidelines for strict implementation during the observance of this year’s Rath Yatra scheduled to commence on July 12.

Temple office chief administrator Krishan Kumar shed the light on the protocols soon after holding a crucial meeting with the Chhattisa Nijog (sects of servitor bodies), police and district administration regarding smooth conduct of the annual car festival.

The temple office has specified the following rules for strict compliance under Covid guidelines as well as the norms specified by the Supreme Court of India

  1. Only servitors will be allowed to pull the chariots during the Gundicha and Bahuda Yatra of the deities
  2. Police personnel will be deployed during the Dakhina Moda ritual (southward movement of the chariots)
  3. Like last year, no officials, employees of temple office and district administration will be allowed to pull chariots
  4. The servitors will not be allowed to take mobiles, camera during the festival to prevent incidents of clicking selfies, pics especially on top of the chariots
  5. Covid test of all participants like sevayats, police, officials will be carried out as per the pandemic guidelines mentioned by Odisha Health Department
  6. Sanitisers, masks, gamuchhas will be provided to participants during the festival
  7. Keeping in view the sultry weather, the administration is preparing to set up rest camps near the Srimandir and the Gundicha Temple to provide relief to servitors and other participants
  8. Medical care will be installed at the rest camps to prevent any healthcare-related untoward situations arising during the festival
  9. Vehicular transport arrangements have been made to ferry servitors to their homes after completion of the rituals
  10. Section 144 will remain in strict enforcement in and around the temples, Bada Danda
  11. The exact number of servitors to be allowed to take seat atop the chariot platform will be announced in few days but a consensus has been met that very limited number of sevayats will be allowed to remain on the chariots
  12. Since devotees will only be able to take darshan of the deities and the rituals through TV & web, a detailed SOP is being finalised to ensure clear-cut display of the event from the chariot without any interference of any servitors