Jagannath Temple Rath Yatra begins in Ahmedabad with COVID restrictions
Rath Yatra began at Gujarat's Ahmedabad on Monday ahead of which Chief Minister Vijay Rupani offered his prayers to Lord Jagannath.
The 144th Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra was taken out from Lord Jagannath Temple in Ahmedabad on early Monday morning in the presence of Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel.
Apart from no public participation, the rath yatra would be a shorter affair in terms of duration as the authorities plan to conclude it within four to five hours as against the usual time of around 12 hours, although the procession would cover the entire 19-km route as earlier, they said. The state administration and temple authorities have made all the arrangements for the rath yatra without public participation and any fanfare.
Heavy security has been deployed outside the temple. Hundreds of people gathered outside the Lord Jagannath Temple in the early hours of Monday.
“Today on the occasion of sacred Ashadhi Beej Diwas (day), the Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra has begun. May Lord Jagannath bless Gujarat and do krupa on us. We hope that Gujarat becomes the first state to come out of the coronavirus pandemic and that the situation returns to normalcy. Today this yatra has been taken out following the Covid guidelines and SOPs. By afternoon, the yatra will return to the temple marking the end of today’s festive celebrations,” Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said.
In view of the pandemic, the state government has made it clear that except for three chariots and two other vehicles, no other vehicle, singing troupes, akhadas, elephants or decorated trucks will be allowed to take part in the procession.
To stop people from gathering along the route for a glimpse of the deity, a curfew has been imposed on the entire yatra route from early morning till afternoon.
Before the Covid-19 outbreak last year, lakhs of people used to gather along the route on ''Ashadhi Beej'' every year to catch a glimpse of the decorated elephants and tableaux moving around in some 100 trucks.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who is on a three-day visit to Gujarat, also visited the temple in Ahmedabad to offer prayers on early Monday morning before the annual Rath Yatra took off from the temple.
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