The Shree Jagannath Temple Administration on Friday cautioned devotees not to climb chariots and touch the trinity during the world famous annual Rath Jatra of Lord Jagannath starting here on Saturday.
“It will be treated as an offence and crime if anyone climbs chariots and touches Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra, and Devi Subhadra,” SJTA chief administrator P K Mohapatra said.
Mohapatra, however, said that the servitors assigned duties to perform rituals, can climb the chariots and touch deities.
“Stringent action against be taken against any person in case of violation of the restriction put by the court. Last year, a policeman was punished for the offence,” Mohapatra said.
Stating that all arrangements are in place for the Saturday’s mega festival, Mohapatra said the temple administration will install boxes near chariots to facilitate devotees for donation.
The servitors were already asked not to receive any donations from devotees, Mohapatra said.
Meanwhile, the wooden chariots were on Friday taken near Singha Dwara (Lion’s Gate), from where the Lords will begin their journey towards the Gundicha Temple on Saturday.
As Lord Jagannath’s nine-day festival begins on July 14, the administration is expecting congregation of about 10 lakh devotees who come from across the country and abroad.
As many as 140 platoons of police force and 1,000 officers will be deployed during the festival. The security personnel are keeping a strict vigil on the visitors in all hotels in Puri while adequate security personnel have been deployed along the coast, officials said.Besides, two units of Rapid Action Force and Odisha Swift Action Force will be deployed to ensure smooth conduct of the Rath Jatra, said DGP R P Sharma.