The annual Rath Yatra festival takes place in different cities across the country — but the most famous celebration takes place in the coastal town of Puri, in the west of the state of Odisha. The festival celebrates the Indian deity of Jagannath and lasts longer than a week.
The Supreme Court has already ruled against the celebration of the Hindu, saying the risk of infection by the coronavirus was too high with more than a million people expected in Odisha.
However, the state government of Odisha has promised to hold the festival in a ” limited “, and has asked the court for an injunction, leading to the Supreme Court to reverse its own order on Monday.
The procession in Puri, consists of three lavishly decorated floats pulled through the streets, with participants progressing at the same time through the roads of the city. The “tanks” are usually huge-45 feet high (13.7 meters) carts in wood, decorated in red and gold cloth, which put the priests through the crowd.
The crowd of people, many of whom travel from India to attend the festival, pray, dance, sing and play music during the celebrations.
But this year, only essential people such as those who perform the rituals and draw the chariots will be allowed in the procession, in an attempt to keep the attendance low.
According to the order of the Supreme Court, each cart can be pulled by more than 500 people. The traditional three tanks average up to 1 500 people will be collected in neighborhoods close to employment.
The court also asked the state government to seal all the entry points of the city during the festival and to impose a curfew in the whole city.
Local and federal government representatives have welcomed the courts to allow Rath Yatra, citing its importance. Union home Minister Amit Shah has called for a “special day” on Monday, adding that he was ” delighted by the decision of the Honourable Supreme Court. “
The festival and the decision of the court comes as the country struggles to contain the spread of the coronavirus. On Tuesday, India said it had recorded 14,933 new cases — marking the sixth consecutive day of more than 12, 000 new cases.
The country has seen more than 100 000 new cases in the past eight days, according to figures from the ministry of health. More than 14 000 people died of the virus at the national level.
Mumbai, the most populous city in the country, was the hardest hit, about a fifth of all cases at the national level. Odisha, where the festival will be held, has recorded a total of 5,160 cases, including 14 deaths.
In total, India has registered 440,215 cases, including 178,014 active case and 248,189 recoveries.