Puri: The Deba Snana Purnima ritual of Lord Jagannath, Devi Subhadra and Lord Balabhadra will be observed on June 5 with participation of a minimum number of servitors and strict adherence to social  distancing norms. This was decided at a meeting of the Chief Administrator of Sri Jagannath temple Dr Krishan Kumar and representatives of 10 Nijogs of the temple and district administration officials.

However, no  decision has yet been taken on allowing people to gather outside the temple to witness the ritualistic bathing ceremony of the holy Trinity before the Rath Yatra on June 23. Kumar told mediapersons said the rituals will be carried out in accordance with the social distancing norms. Daitas and other servitors have been asked to furnish a list of participants in the Pahandi and bathing rituals by May 25. Swab tests for Covid-19 would be conducted on servitors participating in the rituals.

On Snana Purnima, the deities will be brought out of the sanctum sanctorum in Pahandi (procession) by servitors and taken to the Snana Mandap, an elevated platform in the temple’s eastern side overlooking the Grand Road, where the bathing rituals, Cherrapahanra and Gajanan Besha will be performed. No devotee would be allowed into the temple on the day but servitors can use all the four temple gates. “A sub-committee under the chairmanship of the Collector Balwant Singh was formed to chalk out modalities” Kumar said.

Badagrahi(chief servitor) of Devi Subhadra, Ramchandra Dasmohaptra welcomed the decision and said they would immediately send the list of Daita and Suar Nijog servitors. As per temple norms, servitors of these two Nijogs conduct the Pahandi. “We have suggested the temple administration to allow servitors to pull the chariots on Rath Yatra day along with policemen till Gundicha temple in accordance of the Covid-19 guidelines”, he said.

Meanwhile, swab samples of servitors and carpenters working in the Ratha Khala were found negative for Covid-19, Collector Singh said. As per the tradition, Daita servitors enter the temple a day before Snana Purnima and take charge of the rituals from the regular priests. After placing the deities on the altar at Snana Mandap, Pujapanda, Singhari and  Garabadu servitors will bathe the Trinity with 108 pitchers of aromatic water and dress them in Gajanan Besha. Late in the night, the deities will be escorted to Anasar Ghar(sick room) and recline in beds supposedly suffering from fever due to the elaborate bath.

During these 14 days of Anasar, they will be put on fruit diet while temple physician would treat them. The deities appear in youthful vigour for devotees a day prior to the Rath Yatra.