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Rath Yatra festival of Lord Jagannath celebrated on Sunday
On June 25 this year, the 140th Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath with the three chariots returning to the Jagannath temple in Puri commenced but had to be stopped midway after sunset which got resumed at 9 am today. The delay and halting occurred since the Pahandi rituals of the Trinity were delayed by an hour during the Rath Yatra yesterday.

Three well decorated chariots of Triads – Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra – were tugged along the Grand Road with lakhs of devotees participating in the annual Rath Yatra with chanting of 'Jai Jagannath' rent the air. Tight security arrangements were made around the Grand Road in the city.

Both the police personnel and devotees pulled the chariots after customary king of Puri, Gajapati Divyasingha Deb completed the ritualistic sweeping of the floors of the chariots.

Triads are usually worshiped in the sanctum of the temple at Puri, but once during the month of Asadha, they are brought out onto the Bada Danda Street of Puri and travel about 3 km to the Shri Gundicha Temple in huge chariots.

The Rathas are huge wheeled wooden structures, which are built anew every year and are pulled by the devotees. The chariot for Jagannath is approximately 45 feet high and 35 feet square and takes about 2 months to construct. The Ratha-Yatra is also termed as the Shri Gundicha yatra.

Over the years, the Ratha Yatra festival has become a common sight in most major cities of the world since 1968 through the ISKCON Hare Krishna movement.

The ISKCON also celebrated Jagannath Rath Yatra on Sunday in various cities of the country. The main event occurred at the ISKCON headquarters located in Nadia district of West Bengal. The theme of this year's festival by ISKCON was Ramanuj Acharya, a noted saint of Vaishnavism.

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