Jamshedpur, June 19: In view of spread of coronavirus, the oldest Jagannath Rath Yatra taken out every year from Naga Mandir near Beldih Golf Course will remain cancelled. The Naga temple is well-known for organising the oldest Rath Yatra in the city since 1936. This is the first time after 84 years that the Rath Yatra procession would not be held. The annual Rath Yatra scheduled to be held on June 23
“We have no choice but to cancel the procession. We will celebrate the occasion with a symbolic rath to be taken out inside the temple. We will follow norms of social distancing and will keep the event a low key affair,” said an official of Naga Mandir Committee.
Rath Yatra (chariot festival) marks the annual journey of Lord Jagannath and siblings Subhadra and Balaram from in the chariots to the temple of Devi Gundicha, their aunt. The celebration ends nine days later with Bahuda Yatra or the return journey of the trio to their temple.
“We understand the emotion of devotees but in the greater interests of public health and safety of citizens, we have to restrain ourselves from holding the Rath Yatra this year,” said the official.
Such is the reverence among the devotees that they make a beeline to witness the yatra. Several devotees gather at the temple premises today itself to take part in the journey.
The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) and other social organisations in the city Jagannath Rath Yatra have also no plans to organise the yatra. The Rath Yatra Committee of Jugsalai will also ‘rath yatra’ during which the Lord Jagannath was worshipped with his elder brother Bala-Rama and his sister Subhadra.
“During Rath Yatra a blend of religious zeal and passion convert the streets and alleys of the city into a kaleidoscope of colors and gaiety. We will miss fanfare of drums and cymbals,” said a devotee.