The Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra, which is considered one of India’s biggest chariot festivals was set to commence from June 23 this year. Every year, lakhs of devotees throng to the coastal town of Puri to catch the glimpse of deities re-embodied after 19 years on chariots on the occasion of Rath Yatra, marking largest-ever religious congregation in Odisha.

The Supreme Court on Thursday stayed the Rath Yatra at Puri’s Jagannath Temple on June 23. In its order, the Supreme Court also said all activities related to it will be stopped in the wake of coronavirus pandemic. “In the interest of public health and safety of citizens, this year’s Rath Yatra at Puri in Orissa can’t be allowed,” the Supreme Court said.

Such gatherings cannot take place amid the coronavirus outbreak, it said, adding “Lord Jagannath won’t forgive us if we allow this year’s Rath Yatra, such huge gathering can’t take place during pandemic.” 

(By – Anupama)