Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday greeted the citizens on the occasion of Lord Jagannath's Rath Yatra and said that this journey filled with reverence brings prosperity and good luck.
"My heartiest greetings to all of you on the auspicious occasion of Lord Jagannath's Rath Yatra. I wish that this journey filled with reverence and devotion brings happiness, prosperity, good luck and health to the lives of the countrymen," Modi said in a tweet.
On Tuesday, for the first time ever, the annual Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath and his siblings began in the absence of devotees in Odisha's Puri.
The annual Rath Yatra is being taken out after the Supreme Court's nod to organise it in a limited way without public attendance.
In Puri, the three deities were taken atop the three traditionally decked up wooden chariots -- Nandighosa (for Jagannath), Taladhwaja (for Balabhadra) and Devadalana (for Subhadra). The chariots will be pulled to the Gundicha temple in Puri, which is around three km away from the main Jagannath temple.
This year, no more than 500 people, including the temple servitors and police personnel, have been be allowed to pull the chariots. They have been permitted to do that only if they have tested negative for COVID-19.
The festival marks the annual journey of the three deities -- Lord Jagannath, his brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra -- from the 12th century Jagannath temple to the Gundicha temple. The festival ends after nine days when the deities make their way back to the Jagannath temple.
Following the Supreme Court direction, a partial curfew has been imposed in Puri and all the entry points to the town have been sealed since Monday night.