Bhubaneswar: The celebrations for Lord Jagannath’s annual Rath Yatra began in Puri Friday with the ‘Naba Jauban Darshan’ of the sibling deities, during which they are worshipped in their youthful appearances after spending 14 days in ‘Anasara Ghara’ or quarantine.
The Trinity — Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra — during the ‘Naba Jouban Darshan’ reappeared after spending 14 days in the ‘Aasara Ghara’.
However, devotees missed the rituals as no one was allowed entry into the shrine due to the pandemic.
The state government has appealed to the people not to visit Puri during the festival, and instead watch the live broadcast of the Rath Yatra on TV. Usually, around 10 lakh people gather in Puri during Rath Yatra. This year, Rath Yatra will be held July 12.
Meanwhile, as the celebrations began, the state government announced the imposition of curfew in Puri town from July 11. The curfew will be imposed at 8 pm on July 11, a day before the Rath Yatra, and continue till 8 am July 13, as per a notification issued by the Special Relief Commissioner’s office.
All the entry points to Puri town will be sealed, officials said, adding that the restrictions are being imposed to keep devotees at bay in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The restrictions may be further extended in the town, said Sub-Collector Bhabataran Sahoo.
The weekend shutdown, imposed in 10 coastal districts with high test positivity rates till July 16, will be eased for Puri town, as per the notification.