Puri: In the backdrop of the unprecedented surge in Covid-19 cases, the Puri district administration has decided to issue prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC barring gathering around the Narendra Puhskarini and Sri Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) office during the upcoming Chandan Yatra.
“As many as 10 platoons of police force will be deployed in Puri during the event. Two control rooms will be set up and as many enforcement teams will be formed to ensure the smooth conduct of the 21-day long festival,” said Puri Superintendent of Police (SP) Kanwar Vishal Singh at a press conference on Friday.
“The Prohibitory orders have been clamped to prevent gathering of people on Grand Road between Jagannath Temple and Narendra tank during the festival. Strict action will be taken against the violators,” warned Singh.
Earlier on Tuesday, the SJTA had decided to observe Chandan Yatra this year without the participation of devotees.
As per the decision, only 50 to 70 selected Palia servitors, who have earlier tested Covid-19 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.
‘Chandan Yatra’ and ‘Akshaya’ Tritiya are considered important festivals in Srimandir as they mark the beginning of the preparations for the world famous Rath Yatra in Odisha’s Pilgrim town.
Chandan Yatra, also known as ‘Gandhalepana Yatra’, is the longest festival observed at Srimandir. Chandana Yatra means sandalwood voyage which continues for 42 days and is observed in two parts—‘Bahara Chandana’ and ‘Bhitara Chandana’.
Bahara Chandana starts from Akshaya Tritiya and continues for 21 days. In the first 21 days, the representative idols of the Trinity are taken in a procession from the Singhadwara to the Narendra tank. The deities are taken on two chapas (grandly decorated boats), namely, Nanda and Bhadra, for an evening cruise of Narendra pond.
It is worth mentioning that ‘Chandan Yatra’ was held inside the temple premises (Bhitara Chandan) last year due to the Covid-19 induced lockdown. The rituals were performed by the priests and servitors. However, no devotees were allowed inside the temple to curb the spread of coronavirus.