Servitors, police personnel, Sri Jagannath temple officials and carpenters participating in the annual fete were made to undergo COVID tests four times.
The homecoming rituals of the deities started early in the morning with the servitors pe rforming Mangala Alati, Mailum, Tadaplagi, Abakash before the Gopal Bhog was offered.
Although the absence of devotees has taken the sheen away from the festival, the return journey of the almighty is being held amid restrictions and Covid protocol for the second consecutive year.
The move came after devotees, social activists and media reports alleged presence of outsiders in the cordon of the chariots during the live telecast of the annual car festival.
The Rath Yatra was held without participation of devotees and any presence of outsiders could mean a violation of the Supreme Court directive.
In the morning, priests performed Mangala Alati, Mailum, Tadap Lagi, Abakash and dressed Lord Jagannath and his siblings in new attires.
Naveen praised the Puri servitors, police, administration, public and all other stakeholders for the smooth conduct of Rath Yatra this year.
Ratha Chhuan is an age old tradition and it has never been discontinued in last so many years in Sambalpur.
Livelihood of hundreds of crafts persons has been hit due to cancellation of Rath Yatra in Baldevjew temple due to Covid for the second time in a row.
Specifically made on Rath Yatra day, people from across all places here flocked the eateries to buy their share of the delicacy.
At the ISKCON, which had to put off its 50th year celebrations amid the pandemic-induced curbs, Lord Jagannath travelled in a decorated carcade, along with his divine siblings, as part of the rituals.
At the Kolkata temple of International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), which had to put off its 50th year celebrations amid the pandemic-induced curbs
Around 500 servitors were allowed to pull the chariots maintaining social distancing and wearing masks following the directives of the Supreme Court
Jharkhand's coronavirus tally stands at 3,46,279, of which 423 are active cases, while 3,40,737 people have recovered from the disease and 5,119 patients have succumbed to the infection to date.
On Sunday, Pujapandas carried agyanmallyas in a procession from Srimandir to the Rath construction yard and handed over those to Biswakarmas to bring the chariots to Simhadwar.