Lakhs of people are gathering in Puri to witness Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra riding three giant wooden chariots which will be pulled by devotees as they travel to Gundicha temple. Jagannath Rath Yatra, also called Chariot Festival, marks the annual journey of the three deities from the 12th century Jagannath temple to the temple of Devi Gundicha.
After ceremonial rituals inside the temple, servitors brought the idol of the Lords out of the temple in a procession called pahandi and placed them in the decorated chariots. The celebration ends nine days later with Bahuda Yatra or the return journey of the three to their temple.
The Jagannath Rath Yatra draws about a million devotees from across the country every year. The annual event is being held amidst tight security to prevent any law and order problem.
In Gujarat, 142nd annual Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath began this morning in Ahmedabad amidst tight security arrangements. Union Home Minister Amit Shah along with his family members participated in the Mangla Arti this morning. Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani has performed the ‘Pahind” ritual, the symbolic path cleaning by golden broom at Lord Jagannath temple before the start of the procession.
In Bangladesh, Rath Yatra festival is being celebrated in many parts of the country. President, Vice President and Prime Minister have greeted the people on the auspicious occasion of Rath Yatra.
In a tweet, President Ram Nath Kovind hoped that the blessings of Lord Jagannath will bring peace, happiness and prosperity to everyone’s lives. Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu said Lord Jagannath is considered to be an incarnation of Lord Vishnu and the Rath Yatra of Odisha witness the coming together of the entire community in celebration of the grace and divinity of Lord Jagannath.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also wished people on the occasion. He prayed to Lord Jagannath and seek his blessings for the good health, happiness and prosperity of everyone.