Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra 2021 to be held today without devotees

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All arrangements for Rath Yatra festival, which commences today, have been complete, Puri’s Sri Jagannath Temple administration said. Workers, priests have geared up for the big day as the Rath Yatra is one of the biggest yatras which is held every year. Rath Yatra is a festival associated with Lord Jagannath held at Puri annually in the state of Odisha.

Like last year, the revered festival of Lord Jagannath in the pilgrim town of Puri will be held on July 12 without the participation of devotees in view of the Covid-19 situation.

Puri district collector Samarth Verma said people can witness the festival on their TV sets as the government has made arrangements to give free-of-cost feed to different channels and web portals.

To ensure smooth conduct of the annual Rath Yatra in Puri, the Odisha government has deployed 65 platoons of force along with senior officers to look after the security arrangements for the festival, the police had said on Saturday.

“All preparations for the festival have been made. Arrangement from the police administration has also been done. A detailed plan to ensure foolproof security has been chalked out,” Additional Director General (law and order), RK Sharma had said on Saturday.

Puri’s Rath Yatra – Things to know

The entire city has been divided into 12 zones. Along with the 65 platoons, 10 senior officers of additional SP rank have been deployed for the festival, Sharma said after reviewing the security arrangements in Puri.

Though there were no such restrictions on the people witnessing the Ratha Yatra from rooftops last year, the administration this time banned such practice after it came to the notice that some hotels, lodges and guest houses book rooms with the provision of allowing people to witness the festival from the rooftop.

The sevayats (servitors) testing negative for Covid-19 and who have been fully vaccinated would be allowed to participate in the pulling of the chariots.

Meanwhile, all hotels, dharmashalas and guest houses on the Grand Road were asked not to allow any tourist or devotee. They were directed to vacate all boarders and guests by Saturday evening.

The district administration has also relaxed the shutdown on Saturday. However, Section 144 of CrPC was clamped from 8 pm on Sunday and no shop or essential activity will be allowed on Grand Road. Only those with duty passes for Rath Yatra will be allowed, officials said.

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