Puri: The outbreak of coronavirus and subsequent 21 days of nationwide lockdown have made many people skeptical about the annual car festival of Lord Jagannath and his siblings here scheduled for June 23.
According to sources, after the ‘Rath anukul’ ceremony was observed January 30, the Forest department has supplied required number of logs. The fifth and final lot arrived at the Holy City Monday and as per the tradition, the sizing of the timber logs would begin April 2 on the auspicious day of Ramnavami, and construction would commence on Akshyay Tritiya which falls April 26 next.
Simultaneous construction of three chariots by hundreds of carpenters would begin from April 26 and would be completed before June 23. This apart, Chandan Yatra, a 21-day-long famous water sports festival of deities would commence from Akshyay Tritiya.
Doubts linger over transport of timber logs from Puri to Cuttack sawmills for the timber size work April 2 as the 21-day nationwide lockdown would be in force and the district borders are sealed now.
Ramchandra Dasmahapatra, a senior servitor, who is also a member of the temple managing body, is, however, optimist and said there would be no problem for sizing the timber.
The coronavirus, he said, would vanish in the first week of April as ‘Badi Nrusingh’, the deity considered killer of all diseases and virus, had come out of the temple and made ‘parikrama’ of the city.
The 21-day lockdown for coronavirus would have little effect on Rath Yatra preparation, Dasmahapatra remarked. This apart, the temple body and the state government have the final say over the issue as it is a matter of national importance and saving of lives, he added.