distancing, masks tossed aside
Puri, Jun 5 (PTI) For the first time in living memory,
Lord Jagannaths annual Snan Purnima rituals were held at
the 12th century shrine in this seaside pilgrim town on Friday
in the absence of devotees due to the lockdown curbs but
priests did not wear masks and disregarded social distancing
Though a limited number of servitors were required to
perform the proceedings, a video showed a large congregation
in violation of social distancing precaution needed to ward
off the COVID-19 infection.
Many servitors were seen milling around the idols of
the presiding deities.
The sibling deities were carried out of the main
temple at about 1:40 a.m. in a procession by select servitors
who had to undergo the test for the coronavirus before they
were allowed to participate in the rituals, a prelude to the
famous annual Rath Jatra, which attracts lakhs of devotees
from across the world in normal times.
Lord Balabhadra, Devi Subhadra, Lord Jagannath and
Lord Sudarshan were seated at the bathing altar inside the
temple premises where 108 pitchers of scented water was poured
on them amid chanting of slokas. The altar is called Snana
The water was fetched from a well called suna kua
(golden well) by Garabadu servitors and poured on the deities.
While 33 pitchers of water was poured on Lord Balabhadra, it
was 35 for Lord Jagannath, 22 for Devi Subhadra and 18 for
However, mass chanting of Hari Bol by devotees was
While restrictions on large gatherings under Section
144 of CrPC is in force since 10 pm on Thursday and will
continue till 2 pm on Saturday in the town, security has been
tightened in order to prevent people from gathering near the
shrine, Puri district Collector Balwant Singh said.
It was decided to celebrate the 'Snan Purnima'
festival without devotees in the presence of a limited number
of servitors in order to ensure strict implementation of
Covid-19 guidelines, he had said.
DIG of Police (Central Range) Asish Singh said
altogether 38 platoons of police force, each consisting of
around 33 personnel, were deployed o ensure smooth conduct of
the rituals and prevent any untoward incident.
Devotees were, however, given an opportunity to have a
glimpse of the rituals through live telecast on television.
Snan Purnima is observed every year on the full-moon
day in the month of Jyestha of the Hindu calendar, considered
the birthday of Lord Jagannath.
After the birth of the Lord, He is bathed during a
ritual called Snan Purnima, one of the major rituals before
the annual car festival or Rath Jatra.
Legend has it that King Indradyumna, who installed the
wooden deities in the temple, had introduced the bathing
rituals. After the grand bath, the deities are attired in
Hati Besha, the elephant attire, fulfilling the desire of
the devotees of Lord Ganesha. PTI COR AAM SKN SOM SK
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