Jajpur, Oct 13 (LocalWire): The district administration of Jajpur on Monday decided to conduct the week-long Rath Yatra at the famous Biraja temple in Jajpur from 17th October to 24th October, for which Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) will be imposed to contain the spread of COVID-19.
“We hope that the people of Jajpur will show restraint on their own by not participating in the Rath Yatra.
Devotees will be able to watch the Rath Yatra through television.
A meeting was held at the collector’s office on Monday which was attended by priests, officials, temple managing committee members and others.
All have agreed to observe and follow procedure as decided at the meeting to observe the Rath Yatra,” said Chakravarti Singh Rathore the collector of Jajpur.
Orissa High Court on 8th October allowed the Biraja Rath Yatra of the Goddess Ma Biraja in Jajpur after hearing Public Interest Litigations (PILs) and directed the district administration to conduct the Rath Yatra by adhering to the COVID-19 guidelines.
While the rest of Odisha celebrates Rath Yatra every year in July, a 13th century temple in Jajpur has been observing the annual car festival from Mahalaya for generations now.
The difference is that the temple’s presiding idol is Durga and not the sibling deities of Jagannath, Balabhdra and Subhadra. Durga, who is worshipped as Biraja, has also given the district the names of ‘Biraja Kshetra’ and ‘Biraja Peetha’.
Maa Biraja Temple is one of the 18 Sakthi peethas in the state.
Only Hindus are allowed to enter the 800-year-old temple for which a brass replica of the deity and a silver staff (Danda) are taken out from the temple during to Rath Yatra for nine days from Mahalaya to bless all the people irrespective of their religions.
The chariot revolved around the temple with the replica of the deity Maa Biraja for seven days.
Devotees pull the Rath but this year only priests will pull the Rath.
Around 30 carpenters have already built the 60 feet high chariot and its wheels.