KashiReligion & Astrology

COVID-19 wipes off Rathyatra-Mela

COVID-19 wipes off Rathyatra-Mela

COVID-19 wipes off Rathyatra-Mela

Varanasi: It is the spread of COVID-19 that prevented the local citizens and devotees from celebrating the three-century old Rathyatra Mela, a three-day festivity which was to begin from June 23.

The organizers cancelled the to maintain the COVID-19 protocol. The city had been celebrating the Rathyatra festival with gaiety and enthusiasm for over three centuries.

The festival witnesses the traditional procession of Lord Jagannath with elder brother Balram and sister Subhadra in a decorated chariot pulled by devotees seeking blessings of the lord. The fair is organized by the Sri Jagannath Trust.

COVID-19 wipes off Rathyatra-Mela

A day before starting the procession, the devotees throng Jagannath temple located in Assi area to offer prayer and catch a glimpse of the idols of the deities. These idols are placed in decorated palanquins to begin the procession from the temple in the evening. The procession after passing through various localities including Durgakund, Nawabganj, Khojwa, Shankuldhara and Kamachha reaches Rathyatra, the fair area.

After reaching Rathyatra locality the idols are placed at Pt Benaram Bagh for night stay. A special puja and aarti of the Rath (wooden chariot) are performed at Rathyatra Crossing and, later, devotees pull the cart to Mahmoorganj Road, where it is placed for three days. Next day the idols of Lord Jagannath and his siblings are placed on the chariot after special puja in the early morning hours to mark the start of Rathyatra festival.

Earlier, the Lord Jagannath is offered special juice made from ‘parwal’ and ‘Tusli’ that is said to heal the lord of fortnight-long illness, during which viewing and worshipping is banned for devotees. The Rathyatra festival is also known as one of the ‘lakkha melas’ (fair of lakhs of people) as it draws huge gathering of people. The most special thing about this festival is the eatables -Naankhatai, a very special soft bread types of biscuits.

 

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