Rituals being performed during ‘Lord Jagannath Ratha Yatra’ sans devotees in Puri on Monday. (PTI)
PURI (Odisha) ;
AMIDST beating of cymbals, blowing of conch shells and chanting of ‘Hari Bol’, Lord Jagannath and his celestial siblings’ annual Ratha Yatra began in Odisha’s Puri on Monday with strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols as the entire coastal town was placed under curfew. This was for the second consecutive year and the second time in the history of the 12th-century shrine that the annual mega-festival, considered one of the biggest religious events in the country, was held sans devotees.
The entire 3-km stretch of the Grand Road in front of the temple wore a deserted look as only some selected priests and police personnel were allowed to participate in the festival. Only those servitors, police personnel and officials who have tested negative for COVID-19 have been allowed to take part in the festival, Puri Collector Samarth Verma said.