After the Supreme Court gave its nod to the Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra at Puri, hectic last minute preparations are on full swing for smooth conduct of the annual festival to be held on June 23. The priests of the 12th century shrine performed the ritualistic 'Agyan Mala Bije' (a token garland signifying permission of the deity for the festival) for the three chariots. Senior servitors of the temple carried the 'Agyan Mala' from the sanctum sanctorum of the temple and went in a procession to the three chariots of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra and performed puja. According to the tradition, the three chariots will be pulled only after getting 'Agyan Mala' from the Lord.
Schedule of Puri Rath Yatra Rituals
- ‘Mangala Aalati’ ritual of the Holy Trinity will be performed at 3 am followed by ‘Mailama’ and ‘Tadapa Lagi’ at the temple.
- ‘Abakasha’ ritual of the deities will be performed at 4.30 am.
- ‘Gopal Ballava’ and ‘Sakala Dhoopa’ will be held from 5:30 am to 6:45 am.
- The ‘Ratha Pratishta’ ritual will be observed at 6:45 am.
- The ‘Pahandi ritual’ (procession) will begin at 7 am.
- The sibling deities will board the chariots at the Singha Dwara facing towards the Gundicha Temple by 10 am.
- ‘Madan Mohan Bije’ will be held from 10 am to 10.30 am.
- ‘Chita Lagi’ of the deities will begin at 10.30 am and conclude at 11 am.
- ‘Chherapahara’, a major ritual of the annual festival, will be held at 11.30 am.
- Pulling of the three chariots will begin at noon.
- ‘Chhera Panhara’ will be between 11.30 am and 12.15 pm. Servitors will attach horses and charioteers to the three chariots in this time.
Earlier in the day, Chief Secretary A K Tripathy and Director General of Police (DGP) Abhay rushed to the pilgrim town to make the necessary arrangements. The Puri district administration held a preparatory meeting for the historic event and different departments were directed to keep their apparatus ready for the festival. Meanwhile, a complete shutdown has been observed in view of the Rath Yatra.
Important Guidelines for the Rath Yatra
- Each Ratha (Chariot) shall be pulled by not more than 500 persons.
- There shall be an interval of one hour between two chariots.
- All entry points into the city of Puri, i.e., airports, railways stations, bus stands etc. shall be closed during the period of Rath Yatra festival.
- Everyone who will be involved in the rituals will have to be tested for COVID-19.
- State Govt shall maintain record containing details of all those who have been allowed to participate in the Rath Yatra or the rituals connected therewith along with details of medical conditions after testing.
Massive COVID-19 testing of chariot pullers
The Odisha government on Monday launched a massive coronavirus test drive in Puri following the Supreme Court's directive that all those engaged in pulling chariots during Lord Jagannath's Rath Yatra must have mandatory COVID-19 negative report.
The servitors whose samples were tested earlier may be engaged in Pahandi - the procession through which the deities will be carried to the chariots from the temple.
The fresh persons whose coronavirus test will be done will pull the chariots, the official said, adding that several teams of technicians are engaged in sample collection and testing.