Friday 3 July 2020

Ratha Jatra 2020

Jai Jagannath!

Rasagola Dibasa is celebrated on Niladri Bije, the last day of the Ratha Jatra (Rath Yatra).
This year (2020), the tithi date is - July 4th.

It feels great that the Ratha Jatra 2020 is being celebrated this year.
Covid-19 had nearly succeeding in stalling celebrations.
After the June 22nd verdict that permitted celebration, sans devotees and with restrictions, many like me were super-thrilled.          
Shree Jagannatha had interfered and imposed His will.
The Ratha Jatra must go on and it did, just as per His direction.

On June 9, 2020, the Orissa High Court had directed the state Govt. to conduct Ratha Jatra as per the guidelines of Covid-19. The other Jagannath Temples around the state had already conveyed their decision about not conducting the event this year.
However, on June 18, 2020,  Jagannath devotees like me were shocked to learn the Apex Court’s judgment that circumstances do not allow the Ratha Jatra this year.
How can a virus emerge victorious?
Shree Jagannath is the highest authority and identity for Odisha and Odias. The previous tagline of Odisha was- ‘The Soul of Incredible India’. 
Mahaprabhu Shree Jagannath is the soul of Odisha. He is the living deity, who dresses up, eats, sleeps, and even goes for an annual journey with His siblings, that too following set rules and centuries-old rituals and traditions.

In emergency meeting, Odisha state cabinet decided to obey Supreme Court (SC) ban on not holding this year’s Ratha Jatra owing to the Covid-19 pandemic and had directed district administrations to strictly implement the SC order.
As per Govt sources:
“The sense of the cabinet was that since SC has given primacy to life and health and the prevailing pandemic situation where social distancing is important, the Ratha Jatra should be avoided. It was unanimously decided to obey the direction instead of challenging the order. One has to accept that it’s the Lord Himself who does everything.”
Supreme Court announced Ratha Jatra won’t be held.

People resigned saying: 
“It is God’s will. Accept it.”
“Everything happens as per His wish.”
“God can’t save.”
“Don’t put lives in danger.”
“Everything is pre-planned by Him.”
“He is saving His devotees from coronavirus.”
“When devotees are not allowed (as He wants to save them and it is His will), for whom should the Lord come out?”
“Lord Jagannath does not want to see Bada Danda without devotees.”
“It’s not Supreme Court, but the Mahaprabhu, the supreme authority, decides what’ll happen.” 

Supporters of Ratha Jatra like me wrote to the state Govt. and the Supreme Court requesting reconsideration and favourable verdict.

Chief Justice Of India (CJI) had said, “Lord will not forgive me.”
Harish Salve stated about huge “crowd".
They gave their judgment based on the facts that they were communicated that 10-12 lakhs devotees from around the world would congregate to participate in the festival. They assumed that crowd cannot be controlled and infections will increase. But, how can lakhs of people assemble in such a short duration when there are no special trains or travel convenience as in previous years?

The petitioner Odisha Vikas Parishad is not even clear about Ratha Jatra’s duration – for how many days it is held- “10-12 days”. They had demanded for Ratha Jatra to be “stopped or postponed”. It certainly could not have been postponed as there is a particular tithi – Ashadha Shukla Paksha Dwitiya- when Ratha Jatra is held each year as per continuing tradition.

Why was the Supreme Court dragged into this and why was wrong information communicated as the grounds of this case?
Some devotees, who wanted the Ratha Jatra to be held this year, took to social media to express their disappointment. Puri was closed for 6 hours on 20th June, with some protestors demanding Ratha Jatra celebration.
“God won’t forgive those who have sabotaged and planned this outcome.”
Many felt sad and vented out the frustration amongst family and friends in closed WhatsApp groups or via phone-calls.  
I was surprised to see this message of an advocate of Supreme Court –
“I am so sad I will observe fast on Rath Yatra”.
Despite having knowledge of law, instead of giving info to the ignoramuses like us about the remedy and the next course of action even he had accepted the SC verdict like many others.

When the Moghuls attacked Odisha, that time, the idols of the deities were taken to safer places and no Ratha Jatra was held at Puri as the Lord was not there. Out of the 164 years and 4 months Shree Jagannath had stayed out of the Srimandir, Ratha Jatra had been stopped for 155 years. It was held 8 times outside Puri and once inside Srimandir.

Why should we stop a continuing tradition when arrangements were being made for the past couple of months?
I always believe- “God helps those who help themselves.”
But, it’s also true that- “Man proposes, God disposes.”
If man does not propose, then man is stopping the chance of getting any outcome, leave alone favourable or unfavourable.

Not taking a decision or action is also a decision.
Some people pride themselves of being mature and understanding law-abiding citizens and caring for the safety and interests.
And yet, there are some non-understanding and non-cooperative people, whose sentiments had been so hurt that they dared to raise such issues and voiced and requested and demanded a review hoping for a modification in the order.

Devotees and Sebayats were unhappy.
Thankfully, many filed review petitions in the SC against the Ratha Jatra judgment. 
When God interferes, no one can stop an event from happening.
That Ratha Jatra 2020 has been conducted smoothly so far and tomorrow is the concluding day, proves the supremacy of Lord Jagannath.

Ratha Jatra 2020 has proved that celebration with restrictions is possible. 
We could never have excused ourselves for stopping our tradition.

Ratha Jatra's elaborate preparations begin on Akhyaya Tritiya each year. 
This was the first time in several centuries when the situation did not permit crowds.
We devotees felt blessed to watch the LIVE telecast on TV.

There was administrative support. Curfew has been imposed in Puri city and all entry and exit points have been sealed, with extra focus on the Bada Danda, to make this celebration possible.
“Where there is a will, there is a way”.

Ratha Jatra 2020 is unique.
Police and Sebayats pulled the Rathas.
Sebayat, dressed in traditional attire, and Odisha Bandha masks, pulled the Rathas barefoot.

Triumph of Hope and Prayers

In the Bhakta, Bhagaban & Bhutanu tussle, the Bhutanu- Covid19 virus was not allowed to triumph. That would have been a wrong precedent to show the virus as winner against the majority will and hope.

Merciful Lord Jagannath listened to our prayers and decided Ratha Jatra celebration.

He directed Supreme Court to reconsider the judgment! Many are elated that the Lord has answered our prayers.

Rolling of the Rathas  has spread cheer and hope. Even a leaf can’t move without His permission. Whatever is happening is neither Government’s will nor Supreme Court’s imposition; it’s Shree Jagannath’s grace.

Mahaprabhu is the supreme deciding authority!

Some important dates of the Ratha Jatra celebration in 2020-

Ratha Jatra- 23rd June

Hera Panchami- 27th June

Bahuda Jatra- 1st July

Suna Besha- 2nd July

Adhara Pana- 3rd July

Niladri Bije- 4th July

We celebrate Niladri Bije as Rasagola Dibasa. 

This time we will totally celebrate it online on social media. Please share posts with  the hashtag-#RasagolaDibasa.

Jaga Sabu Dekhuchi! - (Shree) Jagannath is watching everything

Chaka Akhi Sabu Dekhuchi! - Round eyes (of Shree Jagannath) see everything

What is your experience with Ratha Jatra 2020? Did you watch it on TV?


  1. This is so well written! Yes Lord Jagannath is Supreme..He causes miracles. Elements in Odisha administration who have no idea of the power of Lord Jagannath wanted to stop his Chariots, but Lord is unstoppable..the Juggernaut!! It's time to celebrate the successful conduct of historical Ratha Jatra 2020 by having Rasagola ❤️🥰🙏! Jai Jagannath 😍

  2. Nice post.
    I believe religion is very personal to an individual.
    It's not right to judge or make comments about other people's faiths.
    Irrespective of all that, world over, these extraordinary times have made unimaginable impact on the way we approach religion, places of worship, rituals, and our belief in the Almighty.


Your words mean a lot to me.

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