The traditional rath yatra begins
Ratha Yatra, the chariot festival of Sri Jagannath Dev which is one of the major festivals of the Hindu community, has begun on Monday. In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the festival will be celebrated through holding only religious rituals and no colorful procession will be brought out this year to avoid public gathering.
Marking the festival, all rituals will be performed inside the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKON) shrine at Swamibagh in Dhaka on a limited scale with maintaining health guidelines and social distancing.
The daylong programme includes singing of Harinam Sangkirtan (devotional songs), Agnihotra Jagya, Arati, recitation of verses from Srimat Bhagabat Geeta and distribution of mohaprosad. The festival will start in the morning with holding ‘Agnihotra Jagya’ seeking divine blessings for world peace and people’s welfare. Mangal Pradip (sacred earth lamps) will be lit up.
From there, portraits of Sri Jagannath Dev (Vishnu avatar), Balaram, or Balabhadra (his brother) and Subhadra (his sister) will be carried to Dhakeshwari National Temple by microbus. No colorful procession will be brought out this year which is the main attraction of the festival to check the spread of the deadly virus while the presence of devotees will also be kept limited.
The festival will come to an end with Ulto Ratha Yatra (return journey) on July 20. Rathajatra is a journey in a chariot with deities of Jagannath (Vishnu avatar), Balaram, or Balabhadra (his brother), Subhadra (his sister) and Sudarshana Chakra (his weapon) on a ratha, a wooden deula-shaped chariot accompanied by people in colorful procession.
It attracts over a million Hindu pilgrims who join the procession each year in the Indian subcontinent including Bangladesh for long.