Schedule for Rath Yatra, related rituals finalised

Schedule for Rath Yatra, related rituals finalised

Puri: Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) on Sunday finalised the schedule for the annual Rath Yatra and rituals related to the car festival. The SJTA, at a meeting with members of Chhatisa Nijog (the apex temple body of servitors), decided that all those, including servitors, to be involved in the rituals, will have to undergo RT-PCR tests or complete two doses of COVID-19 vaccines.
All the events will be held without devotees as large congregations could trigger the spread of COVID-19. Only servitors and temple officials will participate in the rituals, the meeting said. Prohibitory orders under Section 144 of CrPC will be imposed around the temple on Snan Yatra, the bathing festival of the deities of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra, and nobody would be allowed to congregate on the Grand Road in front of the temple, said Puri District Collector Samarth Verma.
The Snan Purinima on June 24 will start with the Pahandi (walking procession of the deities) at 1 am and end by 4 am.
The Chhera Pahanra (sweeping of the bathing place) ritual by Puri Gajapati Dibyasingha Deb is scheduled to be held at 10.30 am.
The deities will later be adorned with Gajanan Besha or Hati Besha (elephant attire) between 11 am and 12 noon.
The trinity – Lord Balabhadra, Devi Subhadra and Lord Jagannath – will be taken to the Anasara Ghar (sick room) as it is believed that they fell ill after taking bath.
The return procession of the deities from the bathing pandal to the sick room inside the temple will take place between 5 pm and 8 pm. The Anasara (sick) rituals will begin from that day and continue for the next 15 days.
SJTA Chief Administrator Krishan Kumar said the Rath Yatra will be held without devotees on July 12. On the Rath Yatra day, the chariots of Lord Jagannath and his divine siblings are pulled along the Grand Road and taken to Gundicha Temple (aunt’s house), 3 km from the 12th-century shrine, and kept there for a week till the day of the return car festival.
The Rath Yatra procession will start at 8.30 am while chariot pulling will begin at 4 pm on July 12. The Lord’s Suna Besha (golden attire) will be held between 4 pm and 11 pm on July 21.
The Niladri Bije, the return of the trinity to the main temple, will be held on July 23. The procession will start at 4 pm and end at 10 pm.
The rituals will be performed with bare minimum servitors this year, Kumar said.

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