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Mrunal Manmay Dash

Puri: While uncertainty looms large over Rath Yatra in Puri this year amid the nationwide lockdown to check the spread of Coronavirus, the highest body of Hindu religious scholars in Puri Srimandir, Mukti Mandap, stated on Monday that there is no harm if the annual Rath Yatra is not held this year in the wake of the pandemic.

In a statement issued by Mukti Mandap, its working president Biswanath Mishra said that RathYatra could not be observed many times in the past due to attacks on the temple by the invaders. Therefore, there is no harm if the festival is not held this time for the greater good of the devotees.

Also Read: Puri Rath Yatra Rituals To Be Conducted Inside Srimandir During COVID19 Lockdown Till May 3

“The lord will be really happy if his devotees, priests and people remain healthy and safe,” it added.
However, Puri Shankaracharya’s opinion in this matter will be regarded as supreme and all will have to accept it, the letter added.

Mukti Mandap, suggested that the government can organise the RathYatra which is scheduled on June 23, with the help of a limited number of servitors and police personnel and all the entry points to the pilgrim town can be sealed to prevent tourists.

Mukti Mandap Letter

“The devotees can watch live telecast of the festival on television and if they really want to be a part of the festival, they can do so by coming to Puri during next year’s Rath Yatra after the pandemic subsides,” said Biswanath Mishra.

Mukti Mandap's statement regarding Rath Yatra assumes significance as Gajapati Maharaj Divyasingha Deb last week had stated that the decision on to conduct the festival depends on the guidelines issued after the lockdown is lifted on May 3.

He had said the temple will abide by the guidelines of the Centre and the state government with regard to the lockdown.

Dibyasingha Deb had earlier stated that as per Puri Shankaracharya’s recommendations, rituals pertaining to Akshay Tritiya and Chandan Jatra will be conducted inside Meghanad Pacheri, the boundary wall of the Srimandir till the time COVID19 lockdown is in force till May 3.

Also Read: Puri Rath Yatra Chariot Construction Can’t Take Place During COVID-19 Lockdown: Gajapati Maharaj


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