New Delhi: A day after the Supreme Court gave its nod for Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra with certain conditions, rituals have begun in Puri for the world’s biggest chariot festival. The Rath Yatra involves three chariots — Lord Jagannath’s Nandighosh, Lord Balabhadra’s Taladwaja and Devi Subhadra’s Darpadalan. One can watch the historic Rath Yatra LIVE at Doordarshan’s (DD) Youtube Channel. You can also follow the LIVE Updates from Rath Yatra by following this LIVE BLOG.Also Read - Maharashtra, Karnataka, 4 Others Among 'States of Concern', Centre Rushes Teams To Review Situation
The 10-day festival that commenced on Tuesday, won’t saw the participation of devotees due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Earlier on Monday, the Supreme Court in its direction had clearly said that the people testing negative for COVID-19 will only be allowed to pull the chariots. It also directed that those engaged in pulling chariots will have to maintain social distancing before, during and after the Rath Yatra. Also Read - Odisha: Huge Quantity of Exlosives Seized in Malkangiri, Security Forces Suspect Naxal Activity
Following the SC’s directive, the Odisha government had launched a massive coronavirus test drive in Puri. “I am confident the Rath Yatra will be conducted smoothly tomorrow (Tuesday), without devotees and with strict adherence to the COVID-19 guidelines,” said Chief Secretary Asit Tripathy after a review meeting in Puri. Also Read - US Supreme Court Halts Biden Administration's COVID-19 Vaccine Rule For Businesses
Meanwhile, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and President Ram Nath Kovind have extended their greetings to the people on the occasion.
“I extend my warm greetings to all, on the auspicious occasion of Rath Yatra. May Maha Prabhu Jagannath bless everyone with good heath, joy and prosperity. Jai Jagannath!” tweeted Shah.
Taking to Twitter, President Kovind wrote,”Greetings to everyone on the auspicious occasion of Rath Yatra, especially to the devotees of Lord Jagannath in Odisha. May the Lord bless us with courage and determination in our fight against COVID-19 and bring us good health and joy.”