Puri: The three chariots of the Triad are all decked up to be rolled on the Grand Road in Puri on Monday, minus the usual pomp and grandeur and the devotees for the second time in a row.
The COVID-19 pandemic has put a brake on the centuries-old tradition of devotees mingling with the Lord once a year, out of the Garbha Gruha, and seeking his blessings with their arms wide open on the Bada Danda.
Devotees from across the globe used to turn up in millions to witness the sibling deities and make Puri their home for the nine-day period of the annual sojourn.
More stringent restrictions by the district administration according to which no one will be allowed to watch the pulling of the chariots from the rooftop along Bada Danda, has only added to the pain of the lakhs of residents of Puri.
An old woman devotee of the city, who has never missed the Yatra of the Lords, said “This is very painful for us as we consider ourselves a family of the deities. With curfew clamped in the town, I will have no choice but to watch it on TV. But, I will look for an opportunity to see Bada Thakura with my eyes.”
This year, only sevayats will pull the three chariots and no police or officials will be involved. The sevayats too were teary-eyed but prayed for the smooth conduct of the Gundicha Yatra.
The Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) has fixed the schedule for the rituals of the chariot festival, which commenced in the early hours with the Mangala Alati at 4.30 am.
Pahandi ritual is scheduled to commence at 8.30 am and conclude by 11.30 am. This will be followed by Madan Mohan Bije from 12 noon to 12.30 pm. Chita Lagi from 12.30 pm to 1 pm.
* Chhera Pahanra- 12.45 PM to 2 PM.
* Detachment of Chara Mala from chariots, attachment of wooden horses and Sarathi to chariots- 2 PM to 3 PM.
* Pulling of chariots- 3 PM.