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Lord Jagannth S Bathing Rituals Held Sans Devotees, Social


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

Lord Sudarshan.

However, mass chanting of Hari Bol by devotees was

sorely missed.

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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