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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Odisha: Jagannath Rath Yatra begins in Puri, over 12 lakhs devotees throng to Puri

Hi Friends,

I am gonna tell you about an Indian Festival Called "Jagannath Rath Yatra" today.

Ratha Yatra (Oriya: ରଥଯାତ୍ରା) or the Car Festival is a huge Hindu festival associated with Lord Jagannath held at Puri in the state of Orissa, India.

This annual festival is celebrated on Ashad Shukla Dwitiya (second day in bright fortnight of Ashad month). In 2012 it falls on the 21st of June.[1]

The festival commemorates Lord Jagannath's annual visit to Gundicha mata's temple via aunt's home (Mausi Maa Temple which is near Balagandi Chaka in Puri).

Report by Zakir Ali, Puri: Nine-day-long majestic Jagannath Rath Yatra beginning in Puri today with tight security. Nearly 15 lakh devotees gathered in Puri to see this festival of Ratha Yatra.

As per the rituals and the festival programme announced by the Sri Jagannath Temple administration, the pahandi (bringing the deities to the chariots) begins about 9 am after observance of Mangal Arati, Surya Puja and offering of Gopal Bhog to the deities. The pahandi completed by 12 noon. Then, the deities would wear chita, a special ornament for the divine forehead.

Gajapati Maharaja of Puri Divyasingh Dev would come in a ceremonial palanquin and perform chherapahanra (sweeping of the deck of the three raths) which is scheduled to begin by 1 pm and be over by 2 pm. Thereafter, the wooden horses would be harnessed to the chariots and the pulling, if everything moves as per the programme, would begin by 3 pm.

Elaborate security arrangements have been made for the smooth conduct of Ratha Yatra. The Coast Guard ships will patrol the sea coast as part of integrated control management to thwart any possible intrusion of terror elements into the pilgrim town. Similarly, Special Intelligence Police will be pressed on duty to track terror network during the festival.

This apart, two companies of Rapid Action Force (RAF) personnel have been requisitioned to guard chariots. While 107 platoons of armed police forces will be deployed in the town, about 2000 Home Guards will be deployed to maintain law order on the road. In addition, 500 police officers from the neighbouring districts will be on duty during the 9-day festivity, the SP informed.

To track the activities of anti-social elements, close circuit television camera (CCTV) will be installed near Lion's gate, Town Police Station, Gundicha Temple, Temple Office and Circuit House along the Grand Road (Bada Danda) including some important locations.

The East Coast Railway has made arrangements for the safety and convenience of passengers during the Yatra and is running 62 special trains during Rath Yatra festival period to and from Puri to cater to the numerous devotees from across the country.


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