Agra, Sep 25 (IANS) Several rounds of heavy showers since Wednesday morning have hit the grand preparations for the annual Ram Lila Barat procession due to start later on Wednesday from the Agra Fort area to the mythical ‘Janakpuri’ in Nirbhay Nagar, close to the national highway to Delhi.
“It began pouring around 8 a.m., then at 10 a.m., followed by another heavy spell around noon, flooding many parts of the city,” said Sudhier Gupta, a resident of Vijay Nagar colony.
The sky is overcast and drizzles may continue the whole of Wednesday. Monsoon has been generous in the Agra region this year. Against the annual rainfall average of 750 mm, Agra has already received more than 800 mm.
Besides, the departure of the monsoon, according to the weather office has been delayed by a fortnight.
At Janakpuri, where the divine marriage is to be solemnised on Thursday, heavy rain have flooded many parts, damaged pandals, and the especially erected Janak Mahal, modeled after Mahasmati palace in the film “Bahubali”.
North India’s biggest Ram Barat will have 130 ‘jhankies’ (tableux) and 14 brass bands. Special ‘jhankies’ on contemporary issues like Article 370, Doklam, Kashmir, Beti Bachao, among otheres, will form part of the huge procession that is to meander through the main streets of Agra before reaching Janaki’s palace in Mithila, Janakpuri, where a whole new world has been created.
Around a million people are set to descend on this historic city over the next three days.
“It is a massive event… we have made elaborate security arrangements. The first day when ‘Ram Barat’ procession is taken out, we will have more than 2,500 police and officials posted all along the 8 km route. Special security arrangements are in place in areas along this route,” said a senior police officer.
Drones will keep an eye. Heavy traffic will remain banned in the area for the next three days, he added.
Fire brigade and ambulance vehicles have been deployed at vantage points.
The Agra Ram Lila ‘Barat’ is the grandest in north India it began way back in 1880. Over a million people from neighbouring districts come to watch the proceedings spread over three days. For the convenience of outsiders, cinema halls run extra shows at night.
The ‘barat’ (wedding procession) starts from the Mankameshwar temple near the Ram Lila ground close to the Agra Fort to the so-called Janakpuri, capital of Raja Janak, father of goddess Sita, covering around 10 km and consuming a whole night.
This year’s Janakpuri has broken all records in scale and magnitude.
“The funds for ‘Ram Baraat’ are raised by locals. Corporate houses often make generous contributions. The municipal corporation ensures that the street lights, roads and other facilities used for the ‘barat’ are in good shape,” said an organizer.
Each year ‘Janakpuri’ is built in a new locality which receives generous funds from the municipal corporation for development of roads and streamlining of civic amenities in the area.