In Puri, century's biggest Lord Jagannath's chariot procession, left the temple this morning (July 18) and will return late evening after covering 14 km in tight security and the town being designated a "no flying zone". It is Lord Jagannath's 138th Rath Yatra this year.
The event being the Nabakalevar Yatra after 19 years is witnessing a huge crowd of over 30 lakh people and the government is taking no chances for any security lapse. A large number of CCTV cameras have been put up to monitor crowd behaviour.
The picture aired by TV channels show that the road between the Jagannath Temple and Gundicha Temple is jam-packed with devotees, pilgrims and tourists. The three gigantic colourfully decked up wooden chariots of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra rolled on in the morning pulled by ropes by thousands of people.
First of all, 'Pahandi Bije' ritual of installing the idols their vehicles was performed in the chariots called Nandighosha, Taladhwaja and Darpadalana for the annual journey of the deities from Jagannath Temple to the temple of their aunt Devi Gundicha. The celebration will end nine days later with Bahuda Yatra or return journey to their main temple.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted greetings on the occasion saying, "Wishing everyone on the auspicious occasion of the Rath Yatra. Jai Jagannath." He has also uploaded some photographs of a Rath Yatra in Ahmedabad. "Rath Yatra brings back many memories from Gujarat. Here are photos from the Rath Yatra of 2013 in Ahmedabad," he messaged.