Rath Yatra, also known as 'Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra', is one of the most auspicious festivals in India that is celebrated every year on Ashadha Shukla Paksha Dwitiya. The celebrations for Lord Jagannath's annual Ratha Jatra began in Puri with the 'Naba Jauban Darshan' of the sibling deities, during which they are worshipped in their youthful appearances after spending 14 days in 'Anasara Ghara' or quarantine. The festival is celebrated to commemorate Lord Jagannath's annual visit to the Gundicha Temple along with his siblings.
The nine-day-long festival began today. However, due to the ongoing health crisis, the celebrations are going to be low-key.
Informing his fans and followers about the Rath Yatra, Amitabh Bachchan took to social media and wrote, "Ratha Yatra will be held on Monday, July 12, 2021, this year. The Dwitiya Tithi begins on July 11, 2021, at 7:47, and concludes on July 12, 2021 at 8:19. Shri Jagannathji, Balabhadraji, and Subhadraji are revered at the Jagannath Puri shrine."
As the celebrations began, the state government announced the imposition of curfew in Puri town from July 11. The curfew will be imposed at 8 pm on July 11, a day before the Ratha Jatra, and continue till 8 am on July 13, as per a notification issued by the Special Relief Commissioner's office.
All the entry points to Puri town will be sealed, officials said, adding that the restrictions are being imposed to keep devotees at bay in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the Administrator of Puri Jagannath Temple, Ajaya Jena, only those servitors who test negative for Covid-19 would be allowed to participate in pulling of the chariots, reports news agency PTI.