Bhubaneswar:24/4/20: Amidst uncertainty looming over conducting Ratha Jatra of Lord Jagannath this year, Puri Gajapati King Dibyasingha Deb today made it clear that no rituals can take place outside Srimandir during COVID-19 lockdown.
“Since the lockdown restrictions in battle against COVID-19 are in force till May 3, there can be no public participation in any of rituals conducted outside any temple across the country till that period,” the King said during a presser after chairing Srimandir Managing Committee meeting via video conference here today. As per the guidelines framed by both Centre and Odisha Government, the religious congregation cannot be held at any temple. Accordingly, the Chandan Jatra of Lord Jagannath that will commence from Akshaya Trutitya i.e April 26, will be conducted without devotees.
“The rituals of Lord Jagannath performed outside Srimandir during Chandan Jatra cannot be conducted during lockdown. Even, the processing for Ratha Jatra that commences from Akshaya Trutitya as per Jagannath culture every year can not take place till May 3,” he said.
Speaking about uncertainty of holding Ratha Jatra, he said that decision will be taken after consulting with Shankaracharya of Puri.
“In context of conducting a religious event, only a religious guru can guide us as per religious scriptures and tradition. It has been decided that the Managing Committee members and servitors of Lord Jagannath will visit Jagadguru Shankaracharya this evening and will seek his guidance on ritualistic prospects of forthcoming event,” he added.