For the first time in several decades, the ritual of animal sacrifice in a famous Hindu temple of Odisha could not be held due to Covid-19 restrictions though the Supreme Court had allowed it last week.
The famous Chhatar Jatra of Manikeswari Temple in western Odisha district of Kalahandi was conducted on Saturday amid Covid-19 restrictions and tight security without participation of devotees. The festival began early this morning with the procession of Chhatar of Goddess Manikeswari taken to the outskirts of Bhawanipatna town following secret rituals.
As per tradition, devotees sacrifice large numbers of sheep, goats, roosters and pigeons in the hope that Goddess Manikeswari would meet all their wishes. However, the Orissa High Court on January 6 had imposed a ban on sacrifice of animals and birds in and around Maa Manikeswari temple. Last week, the Supreme Court had put an interim stay on the High Court order of restricting animal sacrifice during the festival.
Despite the SC allowing the sacrifice ritual, the organisers of the festival decided against the animal sacrifice to prevent the spread of Covid-19. “We had imposed section 144 CrPC around the temple to prevent congregation of people around the temple. The organisers too decided not to go ahead with the animal sacrifice due to Covid-19 restrictions,” a senior official of Kalahandi said.