BMC Issues Guidelines For Lord Lingaraj’s Rukuna Rath Yatra

Bhubaneswar: The Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Friday issued guidelines for the celebration of Rukuna Rath Yatra or Ashokastami Car Festival, the annual sojourn of Lord Lingaraj, in Bhubaneswar.

After a consultative meeting with relevant stakeholders of Lord Sri Lingaraj Temple on Thursday and after a detailed deliberation, the BMC decided that the Ashokastami Car Festival will be celebrated subject to adherence to the following guidelines.

1. No devotees will be allowed to participate in the car festival as well as return car festival.
2. Only Sebayats will be allowed to conduct the car festival and return car festival.
3. The temple authorities to coordinate with BMC for sanitization of the Rath (Car) before putting to use.
4. All Sebayats shall have to undergo mandatory RT-PCR testing before 48 hours of day of Car Festival and Return Car Festival. Only those Sebayats coming out negative can participate in the festival.
5. Sebayats who are allowed for festival with negative RT-PCR reports shall have to use masks during the festival and maintain social distancing as per COVID Protocol.
6. The temple authorities to ensure thermal Screening of Sebayats on daily basis before allowing them for participation and also make provision for hand sanitization.
7. Other activities like food vendors/Meena bazaars/cultural functions and other kinds are strictly prohibited as it will lead to gathering and un-hygienic environment.
8. Burning of Fire Crackers during car procession or any other moments are strictly prohibited.
9. Spitting during the festival and chewing of PAN/Gutkha is strictly prohibited.
10. Sebayats with SARI/ILI like symptoms shall not be allowed to participate in the festival.
11. The guidelines mentioned above shall be followed scrupulously by all concerned. Any deviation will entail individual action as well as revoking this permission.