Puri Rath Yatra likely to get UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage tag

Puri Rath Yatra is likely to get Intangible Cultural Heritage tag of the UNESCO soon. The Odisha Government has initiated efforts in this regard

The State Government has targeted to including the world-famous Puri Rath Yatra in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Cultural Heritage List-2023.

According to information, the Culture Department has initiated efforts to file nomination papers for the tag before the UNESCO. The department has decided to constitute a committee to make a draft plan for the purpose. The initiative has been highly praised by intellectuals and devotees of Lord Jagannath.

The SJTA has held a meeting in this regard and requisite efforts have already been initiated.

The proposed five-member advisory committee would comprise three persons from the SJTA and two seers from local mutts. However, it has been decided in the SJTA meeting to increase the number of members to seven. The draft nomination would include video clips on rituals usually performed during the sojourn starting from Akshay Tritiya, Chandan Yatra, Anabasar, Rath Yatra and Niladri Bije.

The Holy Trinity, Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra, move out of the 12th-Century shrine on their nine-day annual sojourn. A large number of devotees coming from across the world throng the pilgrim town every year. The Car Festival is being celebrated these days in many countries across the world, Temple Managing Committee Member Jagannath Kar said.

On an average, over 25 lakh devotees congregate during the annual Car Festival. The festival has a mass appeal; hence, it must be accorded the ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage’ tag, a preacher of the Jagannath cult, Pandit Suryanarayan Ratha Sharma opined.

Notably, the Kumbha Mela and a few other elements from India have already been inscribed on the UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

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