Puri Rath Yatra Chariot Construction Can’t Take Place During COVID-19 Lockdown: Gajapati Maharaj
Puri: It is matter of faith and devotion that bind devotees to the Lord and the decision to conduct Rath Yatra amid COVID19 outbreak purely depends on the State government, said Puri Gajapati Maharaj Dibyasingh Deb after Puri Srimandir’s Managing Committee meeting today.
The Puri king further stated that it is the responsibility of both Centre and the State government to decide whether Rath Yatra can be held in presence of only servitors and officials or not. Any decision in this regard, however, will be based on the revised guidelines which are expected to come up after the lockdown ends on May 3.
While the conduct the Snana Yatra and Rath Yatra will depend on the guidelines to be issued by Centre, the construction work of chariots cannot be taken up before May 3 as per the Covid-19 restrictions which are now in place across the country. As per ritual, the construction of chariots begins on the auspicious occasion of Akshaya Tritiya, which is on April 26.
It’s clear that there will be no public participation in any of the niti/rituals conducted during #lockdown period. This evening, Shankaracharya Swami Nischalananda Saraswati will guide us on ritualistic prospects of forthcoming pujas & #RathYatra fest: Gajapati Dibyasingha Deb pic.twitter.com/F1kC2Din1u
— OTV (@otvnews) April 24, 2020
“Everything will depend on what guidelines are issued by the Centre after the lockdown ends. As per the present restrictions, no congregation or religious functions can be organised in temples and religious institutions. We have to respect and abide by the guidelines for Coronavirus lockdown. However, the construction of chariots cannot be taken up till May 3,” said Dibyasingha Deb.
At the meeting today, the guidelines issued by the Centre on April 15 regarding conduct of rituals amid lockdown were discussed.
The Managing Committee members also agreed that State government cannot relax the guidelines issued by the Centre. Hence, everybody is bound to follow the guidelines and it is not practically feasible to conduct the Akshaya Tritiya rituals outside.
“As it is a religious issue and the managing committee is an administrative institute, it has been decided to approach Puri Shankarachraya for necessary suggestions on observation of the rituals and traditions,” said Puri Gajapati Maharaj adding that efforts will be made to come up with alternative measures for conduct of the rituals prior to Rath Yatra.
“Most of the rituals including Snana Yatra, Anasara Bidhi, Sri Gundicha Yatra, Bahuda Yatra, Niladri Bije will be held in the month of June. As there is still time, we will wait for the new guidelines after the lockdown ends. The Managing Committee will conduct a meeting after the guidelines are released,” Gajapati Maharaj added.