Rituals for the world’s biggest chariot festival – Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra – has begun in Odisha’s Puri under guidelines set by the Supreme Court of India. The deities of Lord Jagannath (also referred to as Bhagwan Vishnu), Balabhadra (his brother) and Subhadra (his sister) will travel on a chariot for a nine-day sojourn to Gundicha temple.
Earlier, Puri district authorities, Shri Jagannath Temple priests and servitors, civic authorities, officials from the Naveen Patnaik government in Odisha were busy ensuring the Supreme Court guidelines after the top court gave its go-ahead for the Puri Rath Yatra with conditions.
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Schedule of Puri Rath Yatra Rituals
- ‘angala Aarati’ ritual of the Holy Trinity was performed at 3 am followed by ‘Mailama’ and ‘Tadapa Lagi’ at the temple.
- ‘Abakasha’ ritual of the deities performed at 4.30 am.
- ‘Gopal Ballava’ and ‘Sakala Dhoopa’ performed at 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.
Odisha Chief Secretary A K Tripathy and Director General of Police (DGP) Abhay are in Puri to ensure the necessary arrangements.
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.