Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra in Odisha's Puri amid COVID-19; see pics

The Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra, also known as the chariot festival in Puri (Odisha) began on Tuesday, a day after the Supreme Court allowed the State government to hold the seven-day chariot festival in a restricted fashion amid coronavirus outbreak in India. The Rath Yatra is celebrated every year with much zeal and enthusiasm in Odisha and other parts of the country and over 10 lakh devotees from across the country and abroad throng Puri to take part in the festival, but this time, the celebrations have been marred by the coronavirus pandemic.

Zee Media Bureau | Jun 23, 2020, 17:51 PM IST

The Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra, also known as the chariot festival in Puri (Odisha) began on Tuesday, a day after the Supreme Court allowed the State government to hold the seven-day chariot festival in a restricted fashion amid coronavirus outbreak in India.

The Rath Yatra is celebrated every year with much zeal and enthusiasm in Odisha and other parts of the country and over 10 lakh devotees from across the country and abroad throng Puri to take part in the festival, but this time, the celebrations have been marred by the coronavirus pandemic.

Reportedly, no more than 500 people are allowed to pull the chariots as per the new order and social distancing has to be maintained.

"There shall be an interval of one hour between two chariots. Each of those engaged in pulling the chariot shall maintain social distancing before, during and after the Rath Yatra," read the court guidelines.

The huge wheeled wooden chariots are built every year and are approximately 45 feet high and 35 feet square.

Here are some pictures to give you the glimpses on how it's been celebrated this year amid certain restrictions.

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Rath Yatra

Rath Yatra

The Rath Yatra this year has reportedly witnessed the lowest number of people in years after the Supreme Court's order to conduct the Rath Yatra with 'no public attendance' due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Supreme Court on June 22 allowed the Rath Yatra with conditions and asked the state government and the Centre to work in tandem. It also noted that the State government has the freedom to stop the Yatra if it observes a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases in Puri.   

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Devotees with masks

Devotees with masks

The devotees are keeping themselves safe using face masks amid the coronavirus pandemic. The police authorities are also checking whether the certain rules and regulations guided by the Supreme Court and the State government are being followed or not.

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Rath Yatra

Rath Yatra

The Rath Yatra or journey of the chariots has a huge religious significance. During the month of Asadha in June or July, the presiding deities of Lord Jagannath, brother Balabhadra, and sister Subhadra are taken from their Puri temple to Bada Danda and complete the distance of almost 3 km to Shri Gundicha Temple on huge chariots. 

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Chariots' procession

Chariots' procession

Picture of devotees during the Chariots' procession.  While the deities travel on chariots driven by many people, devotees and onlookers pay their obeisance and seek the darshan of the Lord for blessings. Reportedly, no more than 500 people are allowed to pull the chariots as per the new order and social distancing has to be maintained.

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Rath Yatra

Rath Yatra

Devotees with face masks.

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Chariots

Chariots

Devotees near the chariots. The Rath Yatra is also known as the Shri Gundicha Yatra.  

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