Puri: The district administration Thursday urged the Habisyalis not to congregate in the Holy City during the Hindu month of Kartika in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We are yet to win the war against the deadly virus. We should be more cautious. Therefore, we urge the elderly women who observe Habisa in Kartika month not to visit Puri this year. The Habisyalis have been urged to stay home and offer prayers to Lord Jagannath,” said Sub-Collector Bhabataran Sahu.
Sahu further revealed that the district administration will not provide free accommodation and other facilities to the Habisyalis this year due to the pandemic.
“Srimandir, the abode of Lord Jagannath has been shut for devotees due to the pandemic. So, the Habisyalis will not be allowed to enter the shrine,” Sahu said.
Thousands of Habisyalis from across the state usually throng the Holy City to observe the Kartika Brata. They used to stay in mutts, Dharmashalas and other religious institutions during the month-long ritual.
As per the tradition, the elderly women take holy dip in Markanda, Shwetaganga, Narendra and Indradyumna ponds early in the morning and visit Srimandir to offer prayers.
The Habisyalis also offer prayers near Basil plant twice a day and observe food restrictions. In 2016, the state government had launched a scheme to provide free accommodation and other facilities to the elderly women.