BHUBANESWAR: After a gap of two years, the five-day Rukuna Rath Yatra of Lord Lingaraj will be held with public participation this year from April 9. The festival, an important event in the cultural calendar of Capital City, is celebrated on the occasion of Ashokastami.
At the preparatory meeting for the festival on Tuesday, chaired by Khurda Collector Sangram Keshari Mohapatra, it was informed that pulling of the chariot to the Gundicha Ghar in Rameswara temple will begin at 3.30 pm and end by 6.30 pm on the day. Bahuda Yatra of Lord Lingaraj will be held on April 13.
The meeting attended by Lingaraj temple administration, BMC and Commissionerate Police officials, among others, decided all the rituals will be observed in a timely and disciplined manner. Adequate security provisions will be made as thousands of devotees are expected to participate in pulling the chariot this time. Drinking water arrangements and sheds will be put in place by the BMC.
While last year, only servitors were allowed to pull the chariots, the festival could not be held in 2020 following the 21-day shutdown owing to the outbreak of the coronavirus.The meeting, however, was boycotted by sevayats of Lingaraj temple belonging to Brahmana Nijog, Pujapanda Nijog and Samartha Nijog on the ground that several of their demands have not been fulfilled till date. They have decided to carry out the rituals of the deity on the day but not cooperate with the administration for the purpose.
Secretary of Brahmana Nijog Biranchi Pati said among the demands, a prominent one is to allow devotees into the sanctum sanctorum of the temple. “Covid norms are no longer in effect but the officials concerned are yet to take a call on allowing devotees inside, which has affected the livelihood of servitors. Besides, there has been no solution yet to the dispute over rituals of Kapileswar and Lingaraj temples,” he said.