The Gujarat government on Thursday allowed the 144th annual Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath in Ahmedabad city on July 12 with limited participation and strict adherence to the COVID-19 protocols and crowd control measures.
Curfew will be clamped along the entire route to prevent large gatherings.
The State government has directed the Jagannath temple management to have only three chariots and two other vehicles in the Yatra convoy. No other troupes, dancers and singers, musicians, decorated elephants and trucks will be allowed in the procession.
“Since it’s a symbolic procession or yatra, it will be completed within 4-5 hours instead of the normal 12 hours from morning to evening,” Gujarat’s Minister of State for Home Pradipsinh Jadeja told media persons.
Last year, a symbolic rath yatra was organised on the premises of the Lord Jagannath temple in Jamalpur area after the Gujarat High Court denied permission for the usual public procession in the wake of the pandemic. However, this year the government, after consulting stakeholders, has decided to allow the yatra limiting people’s participation.
Traditionally, the procession, led by chariots, would start early around 7 am from the 400-year-old temple and return by 8 pm. Several lakh people and hundreds of vehicles participate along the 19 kilometre route.